Spotting birds in your garden can bring a touch of sunshine into your day – so why wait? Maybe you’ve seen a robin hopping around and want him to bring a few friends next time, or you’d love to wake up to the soft strains of birdsong outside your window each morning. Wherever you are, it’s possible to bring wildlife into your life in abundance.
Whether your garden is large or small, here are some really simple ways to get you closer to nature.
1 Put out different feeds
Your garden will be a flurry of avian activity if you have plenty of different foods to choose from! Suet pellets and balls attract woodpeckers and nuthatches, while fine niger seeds are perfect for goldfinches all year round and redpoll in some parts of the UK in the winter. Also put out different foods at different times of the year: birds will opt for highly calorific foods such as peanuts and cheese, while in the summer you’ll find that birds appreciate a smattering of dried mealworms and sunflower hearts to feed their demanding young. Sunflower hearts are much easier for young birds to eat as they lack the tough, tricky husk.
2 Stay sheltered
Garden birds are always on the look-out for incoming predators – just watch how many times a blue tit cocks its head before it comes down to nibble at your feeder! – so help them feel safe with plenty of shelter. Trees and high hedges mean that birds are not overlooked as they eat. Encourage them to stay with a nesting box facing north-north east. Hang yours on a tree, shed or fencepost around three metres off the ground, but ensure not to obscure the entrance hole so birds can scope out the area in front of them with ease. Nuthatches will use mud to make this hole even smaller so nothing else can squeeze inside!
3 Water, water everywhere!
Although it’s important to give birds the valuable nutrition they need, providing clean water will keep them coming time and time again. Dishes of water close to your feeding station will ensure birds can stop off for a drink or bath when they’ve finished their meal. Replace this regularly to keep liquid in fresh supply.
4 Be all-wildlife friendly
It’s isn’t just birds you can welcome into your outdoor space. Insects are a fantastic source of protein for our feathered friends, so stock your garden with English lavender, foxgloves and marjoram to bring in the pollinators. Plants such as holly and ivy are also an avian-friendly source of food: late-flowering flora gives juicy berries to help birds last out the winter. If space is an issue for you, honeysuckle has beautiful berries in the autumn and attracts plenty of insects in the summer!
5 Keep it clean!
Feeders and bird baths can quickly get dirty; bugs and parasites cling to the mesh, while wet weather can cause your food to get mouldy. Clean out your feeders once a week, sterilising them with warm water and a small amount of disinfectant before you refill them. Be sure to throw any old food away too. TOP TIP: Don’t forget to clean out your nest box before breeding season too!
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