How Do You Attract Birds to Your Garden?
Birds can make your garden come to life. It is such a delight to be able to look out of your window, or sit in your garden, and watch a variety of beautiful winged creatures explore your garden, interact with one another, and benefit from the provisions you set up for them. Drawing birds to your garden is not too difficult, but it does take time for your garden to become as bird-friendly as possible, so you have to be patient. So, where do you start?
There are plenty of things you can do to attract birds to your garden. You also don’t have to live in the middle of a forest to be able to get a plethora of species into your area. The main thing you can do is provide sources of food. To go a step further, you can also provide water, nesting areas, and shelters from harsh weather and predators. But how do you go about doing that? How do birds find the food? What do birds like to eat? What if I have a cat? In this article we will discuss the basics of making your garden hospitable to feathered friends. But first, let’s talk about the first step to making your garden bird-friendly.
What do birds eat?
What do birds eat? Birds enjoy a mixed diet of mainly seeds, worms, bugs, plants, fruit, and berries. Predator birds such as hawks, owls, and buzzards, typically prefer rodents and other small animals. Decide earlier on what type of bird you want to attract, as smaller birds will be deterred by larger ones, and other animals above them in the food chain.
If you want to draw in a particular species of bird, you can do some homework on their exact diet and preferences. For example, woodpeckers are magnificent-looking birds, and they come in different colours and shapes. If you live near in the countryside or near a wooded area, you have a chance of brining woodpeckers into your garden. Woodpeckers typically enjoy insects that they peck from tree trunks, hence their name… but they also like acorns, pine seeds, berries, fruit, nuts, and even sap. Using the right feeder is also imperative to enticing woodpeckers to your garden, such as wire cages.
Probably every bird enjoys suet or other fatty type foods, that are a great source of fat to their diet. Typically known as fat balls in the UK, it is always a good idea to supply them in your garden, especially before winter, when birds are in need of extra fat to keep them nice and snug. Suet, or fat, balls, can be either store-bought, or homemade. Fat balls are simple to make and usually consist of lard or suet, mixed with bird seed, small fruits, dried mealworms, and you can even add some tasty peanut butter in. There are many recipes online for fat balls, and it’s always fun making them, especially if you have children. If possible, however, if provided year-round, you can be sure that your garden will become a favourite spot for many birds.
A useful tip for using bird feeders, is getting ones with closed bottoms, so that when birds feed, seeds or fat balls aren’t dropped to the ground and attract any unwanted mice or rats.
Keep your bird feed as high a quality as possible as this will be beneficial to your birds. Feeding them food such as bread can be fatal, as it swells in the stomach, so try to always supply the best food you can.
How you get birds to eat from your bird feeders?
Now that you know which foods entice birds, you need to know how to present the food so that they feel safe and comfortable whilst feeding. Birds have nearly great vision, and are always very wary of predators such as cats, bigger birds, dogs, and us humans. A busy garden with kids, dogs, and cats will not be very inviting to a bird. If you do have such a garden, you could perhaps set aside a quiet area where birds can peacefully feed without having to be on constant high-alert.
If you’re having difficulty with attracting birds to your feeders still, consider sprinkling seed on the ground so that it is completely visible to passing birds and they can easily find it. The trick is to keep your feeder hidden from air predators and safe for its visitors, but not too hidden so that birds cannot even find it. Birds need to have a way to quickly exit the scene if they see an approaching threat.
If you do own a cat, or your neighbour does, consider placing the feeder high off the ground, out of the reach of cats so as to avoid any fatalities. Squirrels can also pose a problem, but you can easily buy squirrel-proof feeders. Also, place your feeder away from foot traffic to and from your house.
It can take anywhere from a couple minutes to a couple months for birds to find your feeders, so just be patient.
What are some other ways to attract birds to your garden?
You can also plant certain berry bushes and fruit trees as a source of natural food in your garden. Also having a good amount of covering in your garden such as bushes, low-hanging trees, or a large amount of ivy, you can attract the smaller types of birds such as robins, wrens, and dunnocks (otherwise known as bush-creepers). Sparrows and tits are a more common type of bird and they enjoy wild bird seed and insects.
Providing bird baths so that they can wash and drink is also another delightful sight, and will attract more birds to your garden. You can also put up birdhouses and nesting spots so that your garden can be the perfect place for birds to reside. Seeing fledglings in summer learn to fly brings joy to your heart, knowing that you’ve created a safe and peaceful place for birds.