When we decide to feed the birds in our gardens, we usually think of bird feeders and hanging treats. These are excellent of course, but you could make a patch of your garden an exciting bird buffet that is both beautiful for you to look at and a wonderful place for our feathered friends to eat & drink. Here are some ideas that will encourage a broad range of birds to your garden. Don’t forget to have your camera ready to record them!
Bushes with berries
Berries are an excellent natural source of food for many birds, and you could plant some of these varieties to encourage many of the berry eaters to your garden:
- Pheasant berry
Choose a variety of plants of different sizes so you can have taller shrubs at the back and smaller plants at the front. Many of these bushes will grow quite tall and offer the birds a roosting or nesting spot in later years.
Treats on a stick
As well as the berries many birds enjoy other kinds of fruit. It may not be practical to plant some fruit trees (and it would take a long time for them to grow!) but you can provide exciting fruit kebabs! Take a skewer and thread some apples or pears or other types of fruit on it then push the end into the ground. The birds will enjoy pecking at these tasty fruits.
Try to provide as many different types of hanging feeder as possible. Different bird species like different foods and you will maximise your bird visitors if you cater to as many as possible. At a minimum, you should have a feeder with peanuts and a feeder with a fat based food in it.
You could also try out different locations. Some birds don’t mind eating out in an open spot, but others feel more comfortable feeding in a more sheltered position. Some like to feed off of a flat table others prefer to hang from a feeder. Just remember to keep your food sources well away from nesting locations. No family wants to set up home close to a noisy feeding spot.
Don’t forget that our feathered friends need a drink too. A hanging dish or a shallow bowl on the ground is fine. Remember to clear them of debris from time to time and to top them up in the dry weather, as well as to clear the ice in the cold.
Now you will have a garden feeding spot that the birds will flock to – so make sure you have your identification book, notebook & pen ready because you will want to make a note of your new visitors.