I can’t imagine my garden without birds, and I love each and every one of them, from the perky robins who perch a few feet away and eye you up speculatively, to the pair of collared doves that land together every so often, exchange a few mildly puzzled coos and lumber off again, looking confused. By encouraging birds of all kinds into the garden, you’re giving it the best possible chance of being a healthy, balanced ecosystem – they may come for the food you’ve left out, but they’ll stay to hoover up greenfly, slugs and lots of other garden ‘pests’ that have designs on your plants.
Thrushes will pick up snail shells and bash them against a stone to reach the juicy snack hidden inside. Many birds will feed on insects – which can be harder for them to find in areas where pesticides are used – and need supplies of them to feed their young in spring.
As spring gets underway, garden birds need extra supplies now more than ever. Different species have different favourites, but a mixture of seeds, peanuts and fat balls in suitable containers will provide a good basic ‘menu’ where most will find something to help give them the energy they need for nest building and rearing this year’s chicks.
It’s very easy for diseases to spread via feeders, particularly when they’re used by large numbers of different species, so remembering to take them down and clean them regularly really matters. A mild household disinfectant is ideal, but even a good scrub in hot soapy water makes all the difference.
In a damp climate like ours, feed can go mouldy if left more than a week or two, so smaller amounts, left out more frequently is the way to go. Seeds such as black sunflower seeds will attract robins, great and blue tits among others, as well as flocks of goldfinches who squabble noisily over whose turn it is next. With many of us confined to barracks for the foreseeable, these tiny, vulnerable yet plucky little creatures are needed more than ever to keep us company and bring smiles to sad and worried faces – let’s look after them and they’ll repay us many times over.
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
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