Birds are some of the most enjoyable visitors to have in the garden. By supporting garden birds as well as birds of prey (like owls, kites and kestrels) you can encourage a variety of species and watch them feeding, nesting and even fledging! With habitats continuing to dwindle it is more important than ever to provide a home for birds in your garden and there are so many ways to help.
Feeding garden birds is important all year round but particularly vital in the winter when food is scarce. There are many ways of providing food for birds, from tables to feeders, to logs and coconuts. You can even feed birds on the ground although it is important to make sure that foods like nuts are only available in caged feeders so that small birds cannot choke on large pieces. Remember to clean feeding areas to prevent mould growing on uneaten food and to remove droppings which can spread disease.
Providing water for the birds in your garden is often forgotten but can be life-saving, particularly in the colder months when ponds and puddles may have frozen over. Different foods will attract different species so providing a variety of foods such as seeds, nuts, fruit and moistened bread will support more wildlife and in turn create a more interesting spectacle! Don’t forget to hang your feeders in view of a window so you don’t miss out!
If you’re not into DIY, there are plenty of nestboxes available both for garden birds and for owls and kestrels. Providing nestboxes for larger birds like owls is now more important than ever as their traditional nesting sites are becoming increasingly scarce.
If you are going to have more than one box, choose ones designed for different species to avoid competition. Ensure you position the nestbox in a quiet place in the garden or else birds are unlikely to choose it to nest. Now is the time to establish nestboxes in your garden so that visiting birds can become familiar with them and will be ready to nest by the spring.
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