Sunday, 22 September 2013

Creating a Haven for Birds In Your Back Garden

My kids love animals and wildlife. We do not have any pets at this moment in time - we are all so busy that I don't think it would be fair to take on board another furry little family member just yet! So our contact with animals is generally limited to the dogs in the park, or the animals in the zoo or farms.

Alice particularly likes birds. We took the kids to Martin Mere not long ago, and she was fascinated by the birds and the ducks there. Lately I've been thinking about maybe attracting wild birds to our own garden. It would be lovely for Alice to watch them come and go freely, without keeping them as pets.

Now, not too long ago, we did keep chickens in our back garden. But once Alice came along we decided to re-home them, as they were quite the responsibility - one for another post methinks!

So anyway, what follows is a little guide on how to get the little birdies flying to your garden. After all, you have to give them a reason for wanting to come to you! These are just some tips I have picked up whilst trying to get our feathered friends to come to us, to amuse Alice, have some free food on us and generally just having some real wildlife around us!

* Nest Boxes

You can buy these or even make your own if you wanted to get a bit crafty! Nest boxes should be safe and comfortable and provide suitable shelter. You can even pop in some nesting material like wool scraps and twigs. Nest boxes can be placed on tree trunks, but if you do not have a tree in your garden, you can attach it on the side of your shed or wall. You can get a free information pack about nest boxes here.

* Water

You will need to keep this water clean, unfrozen and refilled. Birds like to bathe and drink the water. You could use any suitably-sized container, burrowed into the soil, or you could buy a stone bird bath.

* Food

The official advice of the day is to put food out for the birds all year round. Food should include a mix of seeds like sunflower seeds, canary seed and hemp. Bird feeders are great for putting up in the garden. Keep these clean - bacteria from old food can harm the birds.

* Plants

Birds like to be where they have cover and even a sneaky fruity treat! Plant a variety of hedges in your garden - climbers, holly, hawthorn - these can all help make your garden more attractive to birds!

I hope this has inspired you to get started in your own garden - we are looking forward to doing a bit of bird watching in our back garden over the coming months!

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