ATTRACTING GARDEN BirdS. Feeders & Beyond – Everything You Need to Know
Love your Garden Birds? We love birds too! March and April are excellent months to provide nesting, resting, feeding and water sites for birds in your garden. Here at Cape Contours Landscaping, we are taking some time to think about our feathered friends who add so much life and joy to our gardens. Let’s discover everything you need to know about birdfeeders and beyond and exactly what you need to do to bring birds to your garden.
Autumn is usually a good time of year for the birds in your garden as many plants have gone to seed by now and are providing our garden birds with regular food. However, seeding grasses and fruiting plants and trees provide flushes of food during the year but never complete continuity. Lately, many birds may be experiencing a shortage of available wild foraged food due to Global Warming and less rain falling. Many plants have not flowered and therefore fruited as much during the summer months. Many of our gardens are quite lacking in available food sources for birds. Fortunately, there are ways to help attract and feed the birds in your garden if you would like to give them a helping hand.
SO HOW CAN WE HELP OUR BIRDS, AND SHOULD WE?
There is debate about the latter, and some believe that if we feed our Garden Birds, then we encourage them to become reliant on us. Others feel it is our duty to assist them. In fact, we humans have been responsible for urban sprawl, which robs them of the required natural habitats for their food sources.
Get creative with your birdfeeder ideas!
The best way is probably somewhere in the middle; we provide some extra food at times of food shortage and don’t worry too much in times when food is plentiful. And this is probably what happens anyway. It’s all about balance, as we know!
SO WHAT CAN WE FEED OUR GARDEN BIRDS?
Our common garden birds are a mix of seed, insect and nectar feeders. So you are keen to help them, are you not? Simply put some birdseed, suet or mealworm and a bottled sugar/honey water feeder in your garden to serve all the garden customer’s needs. Simple seed feeders generally consist of a tube and a tray below with small perches. Usually, it is hung from a tree branch. This type of feeder accommodates smaller birds such as finches, white eyes, bulbuls, and even Robins. They can land on it and feed. Pigeons, Doves, and bigger birds cannot land on the smaller perches, but they usually clean up the scattered seeds below.
Other bird feeders include platforms where bread, seed, fruit, suet, and mealworms are placed. They often have spikes. Fruit is anchored on the spikes for fruit-eating birds. Place these bird feeders on top of a sturdy pole. Alternatively, hang them from a tree branch to protect them from cats.
Birds feel safe on a simple hanging bird-feeding table with fruit that cats can’t climb up.
Nectar feeders such as Sunbirds, Bulbuls, and White-eyes love sugar-water feeders. Colouring the feeder a bright red will attract birds that usually love red-flowered, nectar-producing plants. A mixture of white sugar and warm water with a drop of red food colouring is all you need. Indeed, this will attract a whole host of birds. Honey and brown sugar mixes tend to attract ants. Therefore, it is better to avoid using it. Furthermore, you can add a teaspoon of Bovril or Marmite to the mixture to give the birds a bit of protein. These can be strung from a tree near a window. You and your pets can enjoy watching your garden birds for hours.
Ideally, you should also plant various indigenous plants that attract and feed our garden birds. There are so many plants and trees to choose from that will fit any garden style. A lot of the ones that birds love have red, orange and yellow flowers. This colour seems to advertise food for birds. Therefore, you should go for these colours in your garden. Aloes, Watsonias, Wild Dagga (Leonotis spp.), Red-hot pokers (Kniphofia spp.), Cotyledons and other succulents. Wachendorfias, Lachenalia, and Tecoma will attract nectar-feeding birds such as the sunbird. The seed heads of grasses and grains like Restios, Aristida, Pennisetum and other smaller sedges attract seed-eating birds. Seed eaters also love the seeds of ordinary daisies such as Euryops, Dimorpotheca, Gazanias, and Arctotis daisies. Leave the dried-out dead heads for as long as possible. This will give the birds time to take most of the seed at the end of summer. To attract fruit-eating birds, such as the Loeries, plant fruit-producing plants. Try the tree fuchsia (Halleria Lucida), Assegaai (Curtisia dentata), Dune crow-berry (Rhus crenata) or white stinkwood (Celtis Africana).
WATER AND NESTING SITES FOR GARDEN BIRDS
These are also very important to encourage birds to your garden. Birds need access to clean and fresh water regularly and must bathe and drink daily. Put out a shallow bird bath which allows them to safely go in without the need to swim. Such a bird bath will encourage birds to splash and enjoy the water in your garden. Place it somewhere where some foliage cover will give them overhead or nearby perches to fly to if they feel vulnerable. Bird baths come in various shapes and sizes. Most importantly, you should anchor it securely so that it will not topple over. Nesting sites for birds are best found in thick creeper-like foliage and bushy shrubs and trees. In fact, this nesting environment hides them from overhead predators. The smaller birds will be safe from crows, raptors and other birds that prey on them. Grasses, including reeds and bulrushes, are valuable suppliers of nesting material to weavers who suspend their nests from trees.
BIRDS in your garden CAN PROVIDE ENDLESS JOY FOR YOUR FAMILY
Encourage your kids to learn the names of your garden birds. Moreover, you should involve your children and make your own bird feeders. A splendid idea will be to hang the homemade feeders near their bedroom windows. This will result in you seeing all the magnificent garden birds close up! A fun activity can be researching the information you don’t know about them. Your research can include what they like to eat and where they prefer to nest.
In conclusion, Cape Contours Landscaping hopes you will attract many birds to your garden. Your garden birds will reward you with their splendid beauty and the heartwarming joy they bring to the whole family.