Are you having some interests in garden birds and wondering where to start, by creating a bird-friendly garden provide you an opportunity to start interacting with various birds both small and big species at your door step? It will give you an opportunity to observe various features in birds such as colors, flying style, food among others. With a birding garden you’ll start developing skills on bird identification by observation, listening to songs and calls from birds. Our universe is endowed with many bird species found in every habitat of the planet and as a birder you can create your bird-friendly garden both in urban or rural setup. Having a friendly bird garden depends on the available space and design selected to attract as many birds as possible. At the end of this article you’ll get answers to the following frequently asked questions.
- What kind of plants do birds eat
- What are some of the best bird-friendly garden design
- How to make a bird garden?
- Ideas for backyard bird habitats
- What are some of the plants that attract garden birds?
- What are some of the bird friendly trees?
- Components and factors to consider
Why garden for birds
In our compound we frequently get visitors and among these surprising guests are birds either looking for what to feed on, drink or even to shelter during sunny periods. As a result of the frequent visits to our unprotected compound, a bird friendly garden is a must for bird lovers to help provide the much needed food, water and security. Gardens provide a variety of food including insects, arrow roots, worms, grains and locally available grains such as rice burn, wheat grain among other left over. It helps birds feed and rest in a secure environment with less or no disturbances at all. It’s easy to monitor new arrivals, feeding habits, ringed birds and melodies. Garden sizes can vary from small to big depending on the availability of space, flowers, trees and shrubs, feeding utilities, number of birds within the vicinity among other factors.
Where to create a bird garden
Any secure space behind your house is much suited for birds, for those dwelling in urban centers living in flats your garden can be on the flats ground which must be improved to provide all the necessities needed by birds. Wondering where else to start your garden for those working from offices, then your office compound is more secure and attractive to as many birds as possible. Other prime places to have a small bird garden includes hotels and lodges compound, remember for an hotelier it would be inspiring to have an attractive bird garden for bird watchers who are accommodated in your hotel, birders loves watching birds early morning and what a great value to start at the hotel garden. You’re a church leader spending most of your time at the church and wondering where to set up your garden for birds, don’t look any further as your church compound is very ideal for one. School provide best compounds for establishment of gardens, and help get children develop interest in ornithology at an early age. School can established wildlife clubs to help maintain the garden and provide a learning platform for related conservation issues, as a child mentor on bird conservation at school will carry on with conservation activities while at home and are likely to influence their parents to have a good attitude on birds and environment.
Factors to consider when starting a garden for birds
Have a variety of feeds
When designing a garden, there are some basic requirements to consider for any bird to survive or be attracted to your garden, birds will always come to feed, drink or shelter. Birds are constantly on the lookout for foods, water and even nesting sites. Migrant birds will be more attracted to your compound if they can have variety to feed on such as insects, flowers, grains among others, these birds’ needs to store as much fat as possible during their short stay while on transit. Remember that different bird species feed on different things and by providing different variety of food helps attract as many species as possible. To attract warblers, pipits and bee-eaters ensure your garden have as many insects as possible while gardens with small fruits will attract bulbuls, mouse birds and even thrashes among others. To attract weavers and canaries ensure to have edible seeds that can be found locally, and to attract sun birds your garden must have nectar producing flowers.
Plants trees, flowers and shrubs
To attract as many birds as possible you’ll need to plant more flowering trees to produce nectar and seeds. Grow some fruit trees such as pawpaw among others to attract more birds. Shrub such as lantana camara will provide plenty of seeds for the bulbuls and mouse birds. Have a wide range of trees, shrubs to cater for many bird species visiting your garden and this will help retain them. Babblers like nesting in short leafy trees such as apple mangoes, consider having such tree fruit in your garden. When choosing type of tree species to plant, indigenous tree species have been found to offer more values to birds as opposed to exotic species. Indigenous trees survive in hush climatic conditions better than alien species and will provide food for the birds during dry period when food scarcity is felt across the globe. Knowing which tree and shrub for your birding garden might be difficult when getting started but it’s recommended that you observe in your surrounding the types of tree/shrubs species have frequent bird visits. To attract more birds in your garden, consider having tree species such as fig trees and local acacia.
Avoid noisy spaces
Birds in general fear noises and will vacate any noisy garden at any time, birds prefer a quiet environment with less distraction, any noisy garden will attract no bird and this might be costly when an investment is already incurred on designing and having garden for birds. Starting bird garden in a jua kali motor vehicle garage isn’t worthwhile as no bird will be comfortable with all the noises coming from the mechanics doing panel beatings and other noises.
Some birds might be interest in drinking and bathing in your garden, therefore a water point must be placed in strategic and easily accessible points. Clean water should be provided for birds especially during hot weather season. Remember that a simple bird birth will attract many species to your garden and can be provided in different ways by using locally available containers. Bird bath container or bowls should be shallow and have some perching stone place on them. Do not provide a deed sided bowl as this will prevent bird from drinking water and in worst case scenario will have bird drown in the bowl. When designing a bird bath consider having a perch which helps birds spot any danger while drinking or bathing. Remember that a perch will be the first landing place for birds before proceeding to the water bowl. For the shy species such as greenbuls, warblers, Tambourine Doves consider placing a cover as they rarely drink in an open place and always have your water birth filled to allow birds drink without struggle.
Basic plants to consider for your garden
Nectar sucking birds are more attracted to flowering plants, when establishing a garden birds consider planting first maturing plants to attract sunbirds among others. Grow as many flowering plants to provide continuous food supply so that when one species stops producing flowers then another species is able to continue producing food and when selecting flowering plants consider species those flowers during rainy and dry season. The following are some group of flowers to look for Kniphofia, Cestrum, Erythrina, Halleria, and Schotia and among other species.
Birds feed on fruits and your garden birds should have a variety of such plants to attract as many birds as possible. Plant groups providing fruit includes but not limited to Allophylus, Ficus, Grewia, Pavetta, Rhus among other species
Plants that attract insects
Many birds feed on variety of insects and having plants that can attract insect will help provide feed in your garden. Plants that attract insects are known to have plenty of cavities or cradled or fissured in them proving a hiding cover from threats. Examples of insects attracting plants include Acacia, Ficus, Grewia among others.
Dead wood and trees
Another food source for birders that most people tend to forget when starting a bird’s garden, insect feed on dead woods and attract birds such as woodpecker and wood-hoopoes and other than being a source of food for the birds dead woods provide a nesting habitats for the same bird species.