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With a lot of us staying at home this summer, what better way to spend your time than setting up your garden for bird watching.
Bird watching is not just a fun way to spend time at home, it also helps to keep bird populations thriving in your local area by providing them with a safe place to eat and breed.
Here are a few simple additions you will need to add to your garden for the best summer bird watching experience.
Of course, the easiest way to attract birds is with their favourite foods. There is a whole range of bird feeders available and many are suited to the specific birds you would like to attract or the specific food you would like to use.
No matter how big your garden is or what kind of bird feeder you prefer, take a look around the web for the perfect options.
There are also plenty of possibilities when it comes to bird feed and depending on your bird feeder, you’ll be able to treat your garden visitors to a range of treats including bird seed mixes, seeds and nuts, suet cakes, nectar and fresh fruit. Whether you want to go and buy a high-quality seed mix or just have some fruit lying around at home, birds will always appreciate a tasty snack.
Some bird species prefer certain types of food. For example, woodpeckers are partial to a suet cake whereas hummingbirds love a bit of nectar. Depending on the type of food you are planning to use, you can get a specific bird feeder which holds suet cakes, nectar, birdseed, or fresh fruit perfectly.
If you have spent a lot of money on a new bird feeder and aren’t seeing any birds turn up to feed, the problem might be as simple as where you put your bird feeder. Birds need a decent amount of shade and protection from predators but your bird feeder also needs to be visible from the sky.
The best place to put it is on the outskirts of your garden where it still gets a bit of sun but isn’t exposed throughout the day. This will also protect the food and the feeder itself from weather damage.
Once your birds are well fed, they will be looking for somewhere to rest and, if you are lucky, somewhere to nest. There are birdhouses available in every shape and size to suit the birds you are looking to attract and your own style. You can even make your own DIY birdhouse, which is a great way to spend time with family and create something that is totally your own.
Birdhouses come in a range of materials including wood, aluminium and metal. If you experience particularly adverse weather and strong winds, a metal birdhouse is a good durable option. On the other hand, lots of birds prefer the natural vibe of wooden birdhouses and you’ll be more likely to attract certain breeds with a cedar wood birdhouse.
The size of your birdhouse can also be very important when attracting birds. Many birds are territorial which means they need plenty of their own space to relax. Martins, for example, benefit from larger aluminium houses with individual sections which keep the birds separate.
Once you’ve got your birdhouse set up or made your own, you’ll need to keep on top of cleaning it to make sure birds return each nesting season. It’s not that the birds are particularly fussy, rather they are deterred by harmful bacteria which could hurt their hatchlings. So, it is important to clear out your birdhouse and replace any nesting material before a new family moves in.
As well as a home and some good food, birds are always attracted to a nice bath, much like us humans. Just like your birdhouse and feeder, you’ll need to keep your birdbath clean and replace the water to avoid build-up of harmful bacteria.
As well as drinking, birds use bird baths to hydrate their beaks and claws and clean bacteria off of their feathers, improving overall health. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching your birds enjoy a dip in the summer.
All of your garden additions are susceptible to squirrels. Whether it’s opening up birdhouses or stealing seeds from a bird feeder, squirrels are mischievous backyard visitors. Although they can be pretty cute; when it comes to bird watching, squirrels are nothing but a deterrent.
Bird proofing your birdhouses, feeders and baths are pretty easy with a simple squirrel baffle. You can purchase these contraptions or even make your own and they basically work by blocking the squirrels from climbing up or jumping down onto your backyard bird features.
The positioning of your new additions is also very important when it comes to squirrel proofing. Although your bird feeders and houses will need shade during the day, placing them directly under a tree is just too tempting for squirrels. If you do have a lot of tree covering in your garden, make sure that you place a squirrel baffle above them to stop squirrels from jumping down.
If you are planning a fun summer of bird watching, make sure you get a few of these backyard additions prepared first so you have the best bird watching experience possible.
We all know that there are plenty of gadgets out there for attracting birds to your garden but it just takes a few simple features and you’ll be sure to have a great time this summer.