Ways to encourage birds into your garden
Attract avian acquaintances in three simple steps
1. Much like any creature (humans included!) a foolproof way to tempt feathered friends into your garden is to offer them a nibble of their favourite food. Although ready-made bird feed mixtures are available to buy, it is far more fun to make a bird cake together with your child. Try mixing sunflower seeds, dried fruit and grated cheese together with cubes of lard in a bowl, then squish and squash the mixture together until it is fully combined and holds well. Now you can either put the mixture in a shaped mould with a piece of yarn stuck in, or in a yoghurt pot with string through the base to connect it to a tree.
2. As well as providing food, another less commonly practised way to attract birds is with a regular supply of clean water. Most birds need to drink water at least twice a day, to replace fluids lost through respiration and a dry seed-eating diet. Bathing is also important for birds so they can maintain the condition of their feathers and ward off disease. A shallow dish of water with sloping sides (such as a dustbin lid planted in the ground) is an ideal bird bath as birds of differing sizes can bathe comfortably and refresh themselves with a slurp of water.
3. Once you have attracted a veritable aviary of winged beauties into your garden, it is up to you to protect them from potential pitfalls and predators. Firstly ensure you clean out any feeding or nesting areas regularly, as bacteria from old food and droppings can be very harmful. Ensure birds in your garden are out of paw’s reach of local cats and foxes by placing feeders or nestboxes high up in trees and planting prickly plants directly underneath them. Even the most resilient of predators is unlikely to return to your wildlife haven after suffering the discomfort of having a thorn lodged in their paw.
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