Birds are not only nice to see and hear, but they are also helpful when it comes to cleaning your garden or the neighbourhood from pests and mosquitoes.
The arrival of migratory birds signals a change in seasons, when life is in full swing. Use this cue to get out and enjoy nature, and at the same time give something back.
Pretend your garden or balcony is your own nature reserve, and you are the warden. If everyone makes their garden bird-friendly, imagine how much better birds and biodiversity will do!
If you build it, they will come!
1. Build or install a bird box!
Most gardens and houses today lack holes and spaces for birds to nest and rest safely away from predators or keep warm in the winter. Different nest boxes suit different bird species.
Location, location, location! Away from predators, sheltered from rain and sunlight.
Help birds find the ideal place for nesting
2. Gardening for birds
Maximise variety: the more species of flowering plant you have, the more animal species will feed on them and utilise them, and the more birds you will attract to your garden! Make sure the plant species are native to your country so you don’t cause problems with alien invaders!
Give your grass cutter a rest!: leave patches of long grass and spread a wildflower mix to attract insects and birds.
Avoid pesticides: pesticides kill everything – it is better to encourage birds and predatory insects like ladybirds, beetles and lacewings to naturally eat ‘pest’ insects and slugs. Pesticides build up in the food chain and water system and can poison many animal species.
Plant a tree or shrub to help birds in the future. Plant whatever suits your space, even a climbing plant in a pot on a balcony: if it can provide shelter, a nest site or produces fruit or berries, you can’t go wrong!
Check for nests before trimming your garden.
3. More water = more wildlife = more birds!
If a pond isn’t practical, don’t worry, birds love to use a simple bird bath! Clean once a week with a stiff brush and top up with fresh water every day. Bird baths need only to be a few cm deep and have a shallow slope. Raise on a pedestal if there are cats around!
A bird bath is appreciated during the whole year
We all need a safe and reliable source of food, and it's the same for birds, too! Feeding is a simple and cost-effective way of helping your garden birds. It really helps out when tired adults are raising chicks and surviving cold, hard winters.
Do not feed bread to birds! Old baked goods go mouldy and can harm birds. They also fill birds’ stomachs quickly without meeting their nutritional needs. Use a variety of seeds, chopped nuts, grains and chopped fruit. Ideal foods are: sunflower hearts, seed mixes, suet pellets, porridge oats and apples.
Buy or make some bird feeders and hang them out of reach of cats. If not eaten, replace food regularly and clean feeders to stop them going rotten and spreading disease. Special bird feeders can even be installed at window pane.
5. Clean up litter
Birds can become tangled in plastic bags, string and other garbage – resulting in injury, death or easy predation. Birds will also eat small pieces of plastic thinking they are food, causing starvation and other big problems. Pieces of garbage can be built into birds’ nests and end up killing hatched chicks. So clean up litter in your area!
Put stickers or strips of colour or hang decorations on your windows to prevent birds from flying into your windows. You can even buy bird feeders that stick to windows!
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Here you can find some bird-friendly accessories and here some things that can come handy for gardening.