Birds are a wonderful addition to your garden and can be incredibly entertaining and rewarding to watch. Creating an oasis for birds and other wildlife in your garden provides a welcome reprieve from the urban jungle and a vital source of food and shelter in their ever-dwindling habitats.
Create a Safe Space
Your garden should be free from predators like house cats which kill an astounding 1.3 billion to 4.0 billion birds in a year, according to a recent study by Scott Loss of the Migratory Bird Center of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington. You can mitigate some of the danger by attaching a bell to your cat’s collar or by restricting the time your cat spends outside.
Birds require plenty of shaded areas to perch and hide. That means the ideal bird garden is a mix of tall trees, and medium to small shrubs. This will provide safety and nesting grounds for a variety of birds as well as a source of insects to eat.
Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides in your garden. There are many organic alternatives for weed and pest eradication. Using poisons can lead to bird deaths as they eat treated bugs or fruit.
Creating a Bird Restaurant
A permanent source of water is a great start. Your birdbath should be shallow enough to allow birds to drink safely and have a bath if they wish (2.5-10cm deep). Ensure that you fill it with clean, fresh water every day.
Provide a variety of different foods if you want to attract a range of birds or ask your local pet store to recommend food for the specific birds you would like to feed. There’s no need to buy new bird feeders when you can make your own from items that are destined for the landfill. Try our guide to upcycled bird feeders that will save you money.
Planting a variety of fruits and berries will also encourage birds to frequent your garden, as long as you don’t mind sharing. Indigenous species of fruits, berries and grasses are more likely to attract endemic birds.
Bird Homes for your Feathered Friends
Come spring, your garden could be home to a whole new generation of birds when you put up bird boxes. You can make brilliant bird houses from recycled items so your birds get a wonderful new home and you save items from the landfill. Ensure that the entrance to the birdhouse is out of direct sunlight and rain.
Provide nest-making materials like old yarn, feathers, grass or sheep’s wool that birds can utilize to line their nests. If you think this material might blow away, put it in a recycled plastic mesh bag (the kind that onions come in) and hang it in a tree.