This year, we’ve all learned to appreciate our gardens a whole lot more. Throughout the chaos, the unpredictability and the unbelievable stress of the pandemic, those of us who had a little patch of green of our own that we could escape to and let our minds wander remembered that it was a blessing. However, anyone who owns a garden knows that there’s always something we’d like to change about it, something we’d love to improve or add to really make it our own. For some people, that’s installing a fancy new water feature. For others, it’s turning the bottom of their lawn into a flourishing vegetable patch. And for others, they want to see some new animal life in their garden.
If you want to turn your back garden into a bird-friendly haven, then there are a few steps that you can take to make your garden more appealing and safe for our feathered friends. Here’s how you can get started.
Consider Your Feeder
Now, it’s important to remember that it’s never as simple as just heading to your local supermarket and picking up a couple of bird seed balls to hang from a relatively sturdy branch. If you want to attract the attention of your local wildlife, you need to think carefully about the type of feeder you buy and where you’re going to put it. An elevated bird table or feeding station is always a strong option, as it will make sure that no other animals will be able to snaffle down the food you leave out. If you are going to hang a feeder from that tree branch, make sure it’s accessible enough for your new guests to flit up or down to (but not too accessible, again, think carefully about any other interested creatures who might fancy having a go at a free meal).
Don’t Forget About The Cats
As much as we love cats, it’s a sad fact that they love birds, or rather, they love trying to catch birds. If you’re not careful, you could turn your new bird sanctuary into a hunting ground. Of course, an increased level of avian activity in your garden will inevitably attract the attention of any furry four-legged predators in the area, but there are a few simple steps that you can take to make sure they don’t succeed in their efforts to turn your invited guests into a snack. If you decide to go with a table or similar feature, make sure that the birds can spot any oncoming predators easily. You’ll also want to consider installing some plants with spines or brambles around the base of the platform to make sure cats can’t get comfy enough for a stake out, and consider the placement of the whole thing carefully so that cats can’t attack it.
However, it’s important to remember that there is a limit to what you can do, and that there are clear laws in place to prevent you from harming a cat in your garden. They are someone’s pet, and they are only following their natural instinct.
Make Sure You’re Getting Them The Right Food
If you’re shopping for bird food, you are going to be flooded with all kinds of different options, promising various different protein and mineral benefits. However, the most important thing is that you get the right kind of food for the birds that are paying you a visit. While you can leave out any breadcrumbs and dried fruit and rest assured that something will come and take care of it for you, offering a range of different bird feed can make sure that you’ll see some fantastic new wildlife in your garden. For example, robins, goldfinches and siskins adore Niger seeds and sunflower hearts (in fact, all finches love the sunflower hearts), while blue tits, blackbirds and song thrushes favour mealworms. Blue tits will also love suet, packed as it is with calories to help them through the colder months.
One of the great joys of embarking on the process of making your garden a bird-friendly zone is that there is always more research to do, new things you can try and new creatures venturing in to see what you’ve got on offer. It’s always worth using a store that offers a wide range of food options and offers lots of advice and expert knowledge, and Little Peckers has an incredible variety of feeds and feeders for all kinds of feathered friends.
Consider Your Trees And Bushes
If you aren’t getting any birds in your garden at all, you may want to think about finding some wildlife that’s a little more enticing for them. There are some which are lovely natural food sources for the birds, like hawthorn, holly, rose and gilder and berry bushes like blackberry, elderberry and raspberry, but you can also think about installing some bushes and shrubs which would provide shelter for your little visitors. Birds love honeysuckle and ivy because they offer both coverage and tasty berries.
But it’s not all about the berries. One of the reasons why the right kinds of plant life can attract avian visitors is because of the insect life they bring with them. To help maximise the potential for this, it’s important that you don’t use pesticides on your plants. Don’t worry, the birds will take care of those pests for you!
Make Sure There’s Plenty Of Water
Small though they may be, birds need a lot of water in order to keep flying and thriving. Similarly, a lot of the food that is left out for them is very dry, and water is needed to wash it down. If you want to make your garden enticing, a bird bath is an excellent option as it will draw visitors looking for a drink and looking for, well, a bath. Make sure that the water is kept clean, and make sure that it doesn’t freeze over during the cold winter months. Just remember: never use salt to defrost it. The water will absolutely help to make your garden part of these birds’ daily routine.