When you can’t get out in nature, bring nature to you. Many bird species around the world are facing a rapid rate of decline. Whether you’re lucky enough to have your own garden, or a balcony, or even a windowsill, by making a few simple additions you can create a mini-haven to help protect and nurture your local birdlife. Here’s how to bring all the birds to your yard:
Hanging up a bird feeder is a great way to attract all sorts of birdlife (and possibly a few squirrels…). It’s super easy to make your own by cutting a hole on either side of a used plastic bottle and sticking a wooden spoon through as a perch. Fill it with sunflower seeds, peanuts, or ready made bird seed. You can also make tasty bird seed cakes using a yoghurt pot as a mould. Just cut a small hole in the bottom of your pot, thread some string through, and add a mix of seeds, dried fruit, peanuts and some peanut butter, suet, or lard to hold it all together. Leave it to set in the fridge, then hang it up outside.
It’s nesting season, and many bird species will be looking for a safe, sheltered space to lay their eggs. The size and location of your nesting box will impact which birds might use it, so take note of the types of birds visiting your feeder and go for a nesting box that suits your local visitors. Try to position your nesting box so it’s out of reach of predators, sheltered from bad weather, and not too close to your feeder. Keep in mind that birds are very picky about their nesting material, so just place the box and let them do the rest.
If you’re able to do some outdoor planting, selecting bird-friendly plants is an amazing, natural way to encourage feathered visitors. The best sort of plants to attract birds are ones that bear fruit or berries, like ivy, honeysuckle, or crab apple trees. Seed heavy plants like sunflowers or teasel are also great, and will encourage other pollinators like bees to visit as well as birds.
As the warmer weather starts to come in, bird baths will be a great way to attract birds and provide a much-needed water source. No frills needed, just pop a shallow pasta bowl or dish outside somewhere elevated and not too exposed. Make sure to keep the water clean and fresh to help avoid any build up of dirt and bacteria.
And that’s all you need to make any outdoor space into a five-star nature reserve.