Looking Out for Our Feathered Friends

Some gardeners regard birds as a pest, causing destruction by eating newly planted seeds and seedlings. But just as many see birds as a useful ally; eating slugs and snails, as well as providing a welcome sight in the garden. Whatever your view, there’s no doubt that our eco-system depends on birds; they help distribute seeds in the wild and play a crucial role in pollination, transferring pollen on their wings or body as they travel from plant to plant. So it’s important that we take steps to protect local bird life wherever we can.

Many bird experts believe that gardeners can help those species of birds that are in decline by making their gardens bird-friendly. Not only will you be helping the birds and the eco-system but you will be rewarded by the fantastic sight and sound of birds outside your window.

If you’re keen to attract birds to your garden, there are number of things you can do to encourage them to visit:

Feed the Birds
The best way to attract a wide variety of different birds into your garden is by providing a regular source of food. By strategically positioning bird feeders, you can enjoy a close-up view of the birds from inside. Feeding birds is a great way to help children learn about all of the different native species that visit throughout the year. You can put food on the ground but bird feeders and bird tables often provide a better way to feed the birds by ensuring that rodents and pests don’t get to the food first. Visit your local garden centre or take a look online to find a wide range of feeders and food.

Provide water
According to the RSPB, around half of all adults in the UK take the time to feed birds but many forget to also provide a supply of water. It is especially important to provide fresh water in winter when natural sources may be frozen over – or in hot weather when water can be more difficult for birds to find.

Bird Baths
Birds need water – not just for drinking but also for bathing. Birds must keep their feathers in good condition in order to fly and so it is essential that they have access to water in order to keep clean. Being able to dampen their feathers also makes it easier for birds to preen – when they do this they are able to spread oil from their glands in order to keep their feathers waterproof and bodies warm.

You can help birds stay in tip-top condition by providing a bird bath in your garden. It doesn’t need to be expensive – a simple container or dish of water will be just as appealing to the birds as an expensive version. Remember to clean the bird bath on a regular basis to help protect the birds from diseases.

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