Is your garden space right for birds?
As many of us know, feeding garden birds can be a bit of an addiction. And why not, we do it to bring nature closer to us; as well as, of course, performing those deeds any Good Samaritan would be proud of, a helping hand in times of need for our wandering visitors. But is your garden up to it? Do you have the right environment for attracting garden birds?
For any experienced “birder”, creating the ideal space, an English-garden-jungle, if you will, isn’t just about placing the odd feeder here and there and hoping for the best; not at all. It’s about maximising potential within your garden space, and creating an environment that is attractive to a wide variety of species while maintaining a focus on their own unique, individual requirements. Of course, there are certain influential factors that may be out of your control, such as the location of your home within the proximity of a well-wooded park or countryside; and the availability and abundance of invertebrates in your garden – insects, and other juicy bugs, are a delight for some birds, particularly tits and sparrows over the breeding and fledgling seasons.
Saying all this, there really are just three fundamental requirements for a successful garden;
- Nutritious and diverse bird food
- Lots of cover (leave a rough-hewn patch of garden!)
- Great nesting sites
Do the above, and almost all else will follow. And beware, predators such as cats are a turn off for birds. Combine birds and cats and you have what Tennyson once wrote, Tho’ Nature red in tooth and claw.
Shy or gregarious
Certain bird varieties, like the House Sparrow, are incredibly gregarious, happy to feed whenever and wherever – you may even find them rummaging through your bin for food. These happy little chappies are bold and direct, with no fuss about hanging on a feeder in an open garden.
Other varieties are somewhat timid and shy, and prefer the comforting cover of a dense hedge or bush. Dunnocks, Robins and Wrens, for example, have a preference for hedges; Nuthatches for wooded areas. If you do consider planting a bush, go for something along the lines of a berry bush, which would be ideal for Thrushes in Autumn. It will be stripped bare in no time at all.
All that’s required is a caring home
Like most animals in nature, all that’s required is simple comfort and security: good food, a safe home and, of course, a strong sense of security. Here are our top two tips for getting your garden perfected for your birds.
- Source reliable and safe bird food: use a variety of feeders in different locations around your garden with a range of different foods.
- Provide ample opportunities for your birds to feel at home: avoid the obvious such as garden netting, which can be disastrous for fledglings and nestlings; and place feeders and nest boxes away from predators such as cats.