Attract chaffinch, great tit, blue tit, robin, greenfinch, goldfinch, wren, spotted woodpecker, wood nuthatch, siskin, jay, blackcap, swallow and many other birds to the garden.
Indirect witnesses of any pollution contaminating the area, all garden birds help our ecosystems reach an equilibrium. They control insect populations and spread seeds and berries far and wide. Some species are sedentary, and others migrate far away in winter or summer.
These little flutterers are a blessing for your garden: flashes of color, beautiful music, and a mood-lifting back and forth ballet that’s always entertaining.
Here is how to make them feel welcome in your garden, and make sure they’re well cared for so they can continue regenerating nature.
A bird-attracting garden
Some birds feed and nest high up in trees, whereas others forage for food on the ground and a simple, low shrub might be enough for them to start a family. To answer the needs of the many, the key here is diversify.
- Your garden should include several stages of vegetation, each of which can offer shelter, nesting spots, and food for birds. Trees of different heights, hedges, berry shrubs, fruit trees and colorful flowers make for a great neighborhood!
- Don’t use any pesticides, since many pests are actually food for birds. Tits feast on caterpillars and aphids for instance, and swallows nip mosquitos out from the air.
- Leave leaves! Sorry for the pun, but at least the message sticks: in a few areas of the garden, simply leave piles of dead leaves and sticks. This’ll be a breeding spot for all sorts of insects birds love to feast on.
- Instead of the regular, flat green grass lawn, go for a flowered lawn. Flowers attract pollinators, which in turn will attract insectivorous birds. Seeds will appeal to granivores.
Interesting plants to attract birds
- Thyme (attracts bees and beetles).
- Lavender (attracts bees and butterflies).
- Honeysuckle (for its berries and insects).
- Rowan (loved by thrushes and blackbirds).
- Pyracantha (red berries for birds, nectar for insects).
- Barberry (shelters caterpillars and attracts butterflies).
- Black elder (for its berries).
- Hazel (houses many insects).
- Raspberry (food)
- Birch (much appreciated by birds for its seeds and the insects it attracts).
- Oak (offers shelter for building nests).
- Conifers (shelter in winter, food)
- Carnation (for its seeds).
- Purslane (for its seeds and fleshy leaves).
Bird sing all day long, but early morning is when they give it their best. In the cool morning air, other animals are silent and birdsongs travel great distances.
- Only male birds sing (except for a few species). Singing shows how strong he feels, and that he’s ready to defend his territory.
- During mating season, from end of February to end of April, a male also sings to attract a female. His sexual glands swell, and the hormones they release in the brain influence his way of singing.
- Females find this singing appealing. In some species, hormonal stimulation has been observed.
- Once he has found a mate, Sir bird doesn’t sing as much anymore.
Feeding and giving birds shelter
To compensate the lack of food in Winter and in certain urban areas, you can consider trying to feed the birds, it isn’t very difficult.
However, note that once you’ve started feeding them, you’ll have to move the feeder around. This forces birds to keep foraging.
Set up bird feeders in which you can offer the following types of seeds:
- All-purpose bird seed mix.
- Unsalted peeled peanuts.
- Whole sunflower seeds.
- Niger (nyger) seeds.
- Flour maggots (dried or -ewww!- live).
Only give them balls of fatty foods during winter (recipe at the end of this article).
- Remember to display shallow trays for them do drink, avoid dehydration, and to swim in! Clean them regularly to avoid bacterial build-up.
- Give them birdhouses to create nests in.
- The same birdhouse design can suit different bird species depending on the size of the entry hole.
- Only trim your hedges when nesting season is over.
All these “bird facilities” must be set up high up off the ground to protect the birds from predators (cats, dogs…). It’ll take time for a tenant to move in. Indeed, birds are cautious and spend a long time observing the area. They only slowly acknowledge changes to its environment.
If you sit back and take the time to observe them, you’ll quickly be able to identify them. Birds are somewhat gregarious, meaning they like each other’s company. They usually cohabit peacefully.
How to make a fatty bird food patty
Bird feed ball for birds:
- Slowly melt margarine in a double-boiler.
- Add seeds and unsalted peanuts (without shells) to the margarine.
- Let the mix cool down.
- Place the feed balls in strategic places to feed birds.
A word of wisdom – “A single bird in cage and Liberty starts mourning.”
– Jacques Prévert