“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go…” – Stephen King If you really love birds – the sight of them darting through trees, sipping the dew from flowers or chirping happily above – then, like millions
“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go…” – Stephen King
If you really love birds – the sight of them darting through trees, sipping the dew from flowers or chirping happily above – then, like millions of nature lovers in the world, you probably celebrate their freedom and beauty in the wild. There is a way to enjoy the beauty of birds on a daily basis, without keeping them in a cage. Keeping them safe should be your top priority when building an oasis for them and thorough planning is key.
Designing a Bird Friendly Garden
If you want to be dazzled by the song of birds and the fluttering of wings, simply placing a bird bath in the centre of your garden won’t do. Paradise wasn’t built in a day and this project is no less important. Start out by researching into native plants in your area; see a gardener or landscape artist about this if needs be, so you can make a list of local plants and trees, adding them to your garden only after planning where each item will go.
Avoid non-native species, and if you have a dead tree in the garden, leave it; birds love perching here and some even use dead wood for nesting purposes.
The Greener, the Better
An important way to attract birds to your home is to leave as few open spaces as possible: birds love lush green areas, so keep your garden on the busy rather than the minimalistic side. Remember that it’s not just about enticing native birds with a wide array of plants, but also about creating many layers. Different birds prefer different heights for resting, feeding, and nesting.
A good standard rule is to plant the highest trees as far as possible from your home, planting a few understory trees a bit closer, then smaller shrubs, and finally, low-lying grass and wildflowers closest to your home. Vines are also important, since in forests and other natural areas, birds feed on the nectar and berries that grow on fragrant vines such as honeysuckle; and interestingly, Hummingbirds in particular love the honeysuckle flower.
Avoiding Window Accidents
Birds won’t likely enter your home, but many unfortunately fly into windows and harm themselves. Making your windows obvious to birds is vital to ensure safety. Ensure bird baths and food are far from the windows. Use bright coloured ribbons, bells and any other clearly visibly decorations you have; the cleaner and sparser your glass is, the more likely a bird is to fly into it.
If possible, build exterior screens outside your window. They may not be too popular these days, but they are certainly an excellent safety buffer for birds flying at high speed.
Finally, if you have cats, keep them indoors; studies show that pet cats kill billions of birds every year on a global scale.
Food for Thought
Fruit trees are important, since they can provide sustenance for birds throughout the seasons. Variety is the spice of life when it comes to a great garden for birds, since like all animals, they have different nutritional needs depending on the season.
Give birds an extra reason to love your garden by creating feeding stations with feeders and bird baths. Wild bird seed mixes, nuts, raisins and even hard cheese are snacks they will cherish.
Shelter from the Storm
Dense climbers and conifers will provide protection for birds when it is cold and rainy, and in the spring time, they make a great safe nesting spot.
Pesticides and fertilisers can be highly toxic to children, dogs and cats, and birds. Use natural insect repellents; neem juice is safe, as are DIY sprays made with a blend of citrus essential oil and water.
Designing a gorgeously wild, fragrant, lush garden that birds can call home takes time and planning, but once you have decided on your general layout, feel free to grow your garden slowly and with love, enticing birds with a bevy of native plants and ensuring they can clearly identify windows and other glass structures.
Really nice video here with lots of great information on attracting garden birds!