Hearing the gentle sounds of birds frolicking in your garden is one of the biggest benefits of having enough space to grow plants and basically cultivate your own natural oasis. The sound of birds can be soothing and spending some time watching them sitting in the trees, nibbling on bird seed, or having a splash in a bird bath is a relaxing past time you will soon not be able to get enough of.
Attracting birds into your garden is not rocket science, and taking the time to prepare your garden for the birds can be a fun way to spend a weekend. As your bird friendly garden comes together, you will see that the variety of species starts growing and so will the possibility of nesting birds coming into your space and making it their home too.
One of the things to keep in mind when you are setting up your garden is that birds come and go as many will migrate at certain times of the year. When you are planning your garden, you should consider this carefully as you will need to accommodate the needs of all the different birds that you will spot throughout the year.
The Key to Attracting Birds
Birds are basically attracted by food. And it is not just the store bought seed that they want. If you want to instantly start attracting a few avian friends, you will need to start, and focus, completely on what you can provide for them in terms of plants as well as seed.
The next key factor is going to be water. After all, once they have fed, they might want a drink. You can go quite wild when it comes to creating a water source for them. From installing gentle fountains to building a small pond, the ideas are endless. Much of what you will need to create a place for the birds to drink, and bath, can be bought in a shop and if you want to take the quickest route, you can go to your nearest nursery and simply buy a cement basin of your choice.
Finally, birds will only come into a garden that they feel safe in. Generally, they won’t be scared off or too worried about pets (although cats might be an issue) but they will be scared off by loud noises and cars. If you have a really small garden in a very urban area, you might have to put in a little extra effort to lure in birds.
Tips for First Time Urban Birders
If this is the first time that you have really given attention to attracting birds into your garden, these beginner’s tips are exactly what you will need.
- Choose your seeds wisely
Using bird seed, the type you can buy in just about any shop, is a wonderful way to attract birds into your garden. It will serve their most basic need, which is food, and once they realise the seed is always going to be there, you will have them coming back for more. When you are selecting your seeds make sure that you only buy from reputable sellers. And to find the mix that the birds will prefer, you should be prepared to do a little experimenting.
- Don’t feed them just anything
Birds are wild, so they shouldn’t be given things like peanut butter, pet food, or large bits of bread. Feeding them these types of things is not going to be harmful, per se, but they will act as fillers. The bird is going to feel full but not with the kind of nutritious food that the actually need for survival.
- Put in a bird bath first
Your bird bath is as much a necessity for birds as it is a beautiful décor piece for your garden. Try to get the bird bath in place before you pay attention to the rest of your garden as it will be one of those things that will instantly start attracting your feathered friends.
- Plant bird friendly plants
Fruit trees and berry bushes are great additions but not a necessity. Planting strawberries, mangos and papayas will certainly attract all sorts of birds that will really appreciate the fresh fruits and as an added benefit you can also enjoy the fruits that your garden produces.
- Watch the birds
This is a quite obvious and perhaps silly tip, since this is precisely why you are creating this garden space, but you should really observe the birds and what they do. Have a look at whether the location of the bird bath is just right and watch what the birds like to eat. This is the best way to see if the seed mix you have chosen is right for the birds that you have.
How to attract new types of birds
After a while, you will notice that you consistently have the same birds in your garden and this might make you keen to attract a few new faces. The easiest way to do this would be to change up the food you are offering.
- Introduce new seeds
Try changing up your seed mix but don’t completely replace it. Instead, take a handful of the new seeds as well as a handful of your existing mix and feed them that. This way you won’t chase away any of your frequent visitors but you might just attract a few new ones.
- Don’t forget nectar
Many of your summer birds love to feast on nectar and it is a good idea to add a nectar feeder to your current setup.
- Try moving water
Rather than having a still bath which can overheat in the summer, not to mention get really dirty, consider having a moving water feature. Not only will it help to keep the water cool and clean, it will also attract birds as they will hear the flow.
- Landscape for shelter
If you don’t have trees, or if your trees are unsuitable, think about adding dense bush and hedges in which the birds can create nests. Growing fruit shrubs is also a great idea for shelter and will double as a food source.