From choosing garden plants to putting out bird feeders, there are clever steps you can take to attract birds. Not only does this allow for relaxed bird watching, but these wonderful visitors also help rid lawns of weeds and pests. In addition, every gardener’s feathered friends contribute to pollination and can liven up the garden area. Whether you have a small yard garden in the city or large meadows in the country, there are a number of ways you can encourage birds to visit your bed. So take a look at the following tips and information that can help you with attracting them.
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Create a beautiful garden and attract birds
When it comes to attracting birds to an inhabited area, it’s important to provide for their basic needs to make your garden a welcoming environment. Food, water and shelter are all key factors in achieving this, but there are other factors to consider. While this meets their physiological survival needs, birds also look for a safe place to call home. Above all, this should be a place where they can be social as well. Birds will otherwise visit your garden if there is enough bird food, so the first thing you should do is provide a few feeders . It is also still advisable to provide natural food, cover and nesting sites.
In addition, species diversity is likely to increase with size, bird-friendliness, and proximity to landscapes or wooded parks. Some bird species such as nuthatches are never far from old trees, while raptors such as sparrowhawks and owls penetrate deep into some cities. The most important thing, however, is to make sure you are meeting the needs of your visitors throughout the year, as well as the changing demands of residents and seasonal visitors. So follow the tips below to make your garden a welcoming haven for birds.
How do you welcome birds to your garden?
So how can you make visitors feel at home in your garden and make it as easy as possible for them? In the first place, look carefully at what kind of nesting material birds can use. As a rule, all kinds of materials are suitable for this purpose, and you can take a sustainable approach to providing them to the birds. So in the process, make sure that your garden does not necessarily look spotless. For example, leave leaves, twigs, feathers, etc., as they often use these as building materials for their nests. Moss, pieces of wool from sheep, dog and cat hair are also very welcome in nest building.
In addition, you can plant hedges, shrubs and, of course, trees to make your visitors feel cozy in them. Shrubs and hedges provide shelter for many birds and, accordingly, adequate nesting sites. If possible, plant berry bushes so that you can quickly attract birds and provide them with all sorts of goodies. Both shrubs and trees are important as nesting sites for critters. Few bird species will want to use nest boxes, so give them as much suitable space as possible.
While planting bushes with berries in the fall is good for thrushes, they will soon strip the crop. So think outside the box – if you live near a wholesale fruit market, buy trays of low-quality apples so birds can feed when the berries are gone. Making your own fat birdseed is also a recommended winter option that can attract flocks of starlings.
Provide bird baths to attract birds.
During freezing weather, birds are at risk of drinking water shortages. To do this, place a shallow bowl of fresh water in your yard and change it every day. When it’s frosty, however, don’t sprinkle salt in it because it can be bad for many bird species. Accordingly, in summer your feathered friends will be grateful for a nice bathing spot. This does not have to be too large, and it is enough to fill an old pot with water and position it in a secluded place in the garden area.
However, when doing this, also keep in mind that birds are afraid of deep water. Therefore, a bird bath for them must be no deeper than 3-5 cm. They are also very vulnerable to attacks when bathing. That is why the bath should be high enough above the ground (1.5 m) and up to 2 m away from the fence or bush. Thus, you ensure that predators or pets such as cats have no chance to climb on it.
If you choose nesting boxes or birdhouses.
You can hang nesting boxes in your yard for the different species of birds. However, each bird species wants a custom feeder or nesting box. So keep in mind that not every bird will want to settle in a nest box, but if they do, you should consider their wishes so you can attract birds. First, take a look at what species come to your yard to feed. You may be able to make a nest box for these birds.
Also, consider the distance between the different nest boxes. If they are the same nest boxes, you should keep a distance of at least 10 meters. However, if they are boxes for different species of birds, 5 meters is also sufficient. In the breeding season, birds do not like close neighbors, so the more shrubs and trees in the garden, the more neighbors they can tolerate. Here are some more steps you can take:
- If possible, hang the opening of the nest boxes to the north, northeast or east. This way you will prevent too much rain, wind and sun from entering.
- Position the boxes at least 2 feet off the ground, again to make it difficult for cats or predators to get in.
- The best time to hang birdhouses is in the fall. Since birds sometimes seek shelter in the winter as well, they may find their homes and lay eggs there as early as spring.
- Clean the nest boxes with warm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid. Let them dry in October and November and hang them up again for the new season.
- The first year, you can often attract few birds because they are still finding their homes too new. In the second year, however, the chances are better, which is why you should be patient. If after 2 breeding seasons you still have no visitors or residents, you can try a new location where you may have better luck.
What plants can be used to attract birds?
There are certain shrubs or trees that are popular with both people and birds. Most of them have lush flowers in clusters in the spring and beautiful fall foliage color in the fall. Most bird species also like denser branches that provide good shelter. Here are some plant species that are suitable for feathered visitors:
- Mulberry: This grows 8-13 m tall and can be wide. Birds love the dense branching and small pink fruits that resemble raspberries. They are even edible for humans.
- Rowanberry: The plant can reach a height of 10 to 15 meters. In spring it has beautiful creamy-white flower clusters, in autumn beautiful red-orange berries, which are quite popular with birds.
- You can still plant all kinds of fruit trees such as apple, cherry, plum, etc. and enjoy their fruits together with your feathered garden guests.
- Shrubs and hedges are also suitable for many species of birds, as they can hide in them in case of danger, build nests, pick berries, or eat insects. All these are many good reasons to plant a hedge instead of building a regular fence. Some examples of hedges that are loved by birds are:
- Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus).
- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
- Yew (Taxus baccata)
- Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)
- Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
- Ivy (Hedera helix)
Many birds also eat insects such as caterpillars, butterflies, flies, bees, bumblebees, etc. Flowering plants attract such insects and also give seeds after flowering. So you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Some examples of such plant varieties are butterfly bush (Buddleja), cowslip (Sedum), tansy (Tanacetum) and yarrow (Achillea). Feel free to leave the faded plants for a while; this is winter food for the birds. It is also better to leave the rose hips hanging, as many birds like them.
Leave some fruit under your fruit trees in the fall, as birds in the garden will be happy about it. You’ll also see lots of butterflies on the rotten fruit in the fall, which is an added bonus. Also, try to use as few chemical pesticides as possible, as they pose a poisoning hazard to birds.