Archive for June, 2019

6 Ways of Attracting Birds to Your Garden

Posted by admin on Jun 27, 2019 under Uncategorized

Many of us instinctively intuit the profound shifts in mood which the natural environment can effect in humans. Connections between happiness and environmental aspects are no longer just anecdotal; a growing body of scientific literature has come to affirm this most primordial of human insights.

Data collected through a phone app has confirmed that time spent in natural environments impacts human mental and physical health positively. In order to make time spent in your garden more enjoyable so that you can reap the full benefits of outdoor lounging, you should think about increasing both the flora and fauna in your backyard.

We have already gone through ways of attracting wildlife to your garden. Let us now turn our attention to bird lovers and provide specific ways of attracting birds to your garden.

Photo credit: Naturalism14/Shutterstock

How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

  1. Plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs
  2. Install a Birdbath (or a few)
  3. Provide nesting places and nesting materials
  4. Install bird feeders
  5. Take up environmentally friendly gardening techniques
  6. Plant evergreen trees
Photo credit: Marina Hannus/Shutterstock

1. Plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs

Planting fruit-bearing trees is a great way of attracting birds to your garden. Birds are more likely to visit a yard which provides shelter and food – fruiting trees and shrubs offer just that.

Some of the best trees and shrubs to plant include:

  • Rowan
  • Teasel
  • Honeysuckle
  • Hawthorn
  • Cotoneaster
  • Berberis
  • Prycantha
  • Ivy
  • Holly

These will either directly provide food for birds (through their fruiting bodies) or will indirectly make food available (by attracting various insects which birds feed on). Furthermore, they can also act as nesting spots for all sorts of bird species.

Photo credit: Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock

2. Install a birdbath (or a few)

A birdbath is a small basin which one can install for birds to bathe in. Birds that feed exclusively on seeds need water in order to wash down their dry meals. A birdbath will encourage them to stop by your garden as part of their daily routine; perhaps this will even incentivise them to set up shop there on a more permanent basis.

One aspect to be mindful of is the fact that, in areas which are prone to harsher winters than say Southern England, the water in your birdbaths can freeze and end up damaging the whole structure as the ice expands. Changing the water regularly can keep this from happening. Another solution is to place a small ball in the water; the ball will constantly move around on the water’s surface and keep it from freezing. Whatever you do, don’t use salt to defreeze or keep the water from freezing – birds can process small quantities of salt, but medium to large quantities will be deadly.

Furthermore, you should make sure to keep the water clean as birds can catch diseases after bathing in dirty water.  

Photo credit: Michael Schroeder/Shutterstock

3. Provide nesting places and nesting materials

Encouraging birds to nest in your garden might be easier than you think. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Buy pre-build nest boxes

A well-placed nest box can dramatically increase your chances of becoming a landlord for nesting birds. Cavity nesting birds are always on the lookout for a good spot to settle down and the high-quality nesting boxes available on the market nowadays will act as perfect nests.

  • Let your hedges grow out

Many bird species nest in overgrown hedges as these provide more shelter and security than neatly trimmed ones. A great excuse to skip your gardening chores!

  • Place raw materials for nesting all over your garden

Placing short pieces of string, yarn, human or pet hair in small bags or containers in your garden will make it easier for birds to build nests. Placing these containers next to where your bird feeder or birdbath is will ensure that the birds see it and will encourage them to nest in your garden.

Photo credit: Ancha Chiangmai/Shutterstock

4. Install bird feeders

Just like birdbaths, birdfeeders will provide your winged friends with an essential element needed for survival. You can either buy ready-made bird feeders or make your own. We recommend the latter just because you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun building these things.

Check these links out for a few creative ideas that you could make yourself:

Remember, different birds prefer different foods. Do a bit of research on what birds are native to your area and what they like to eat so that you can fill your bird feeders with whatever they prefer.   

Furthermore, keep in mind that, just like you monitor your birdbaths, you should regularly check the feeders in order to make sure than the seeds don’t become mouldy. Also keep an eye out for birds which look sick (usually these have fluffed up feathers and other visible signs of disease). If you see a sick bird use the feeder, try to sterilise it immediately in order to keep others from being infected.

5. Take up environmentally friendly gardening techniques

It’s not enough to install bird feeders and baths or to provide birds with nesting materials, water, and food; if you use pesticides and other chemicals when you garden, birds will avoid your backyard like the plague.

There are plenty of green pesticides which you can use that won’t keep birds away. Wherever possible, try sustainable gardening techniques such as planting perennial multi-purpose plants or reusing and recycling materials in your garden.

Photo credit: YK/Shutterstock

6. Plant evergreen trees

We’ve talked about the benefits of planting fruit-bearing trees and shrubs, however, evergreen trees (even those which don’t produce fruit) are a great way of attracting birds to your garden.

Evergreen tress can attract diverse species of wild birds, are taller than shrubs, and usually taller than most fruit-bearing trees. Having a good variety of tree heights is good because some birds prefer nesting closer to the ground while others like being higher up.

Of course, the main benefit of evergreens is that they can provide the same shelter and security for birds in winter as they do in summer.

Photo credit: all_about_people/Shutterstock

Sit Back and Enjoy your Birdwatching Paradise

Getting birds to nest in your garden might take a bit of time, so be patient. You might need to move the bird feeders, birdbaths, and nesting places around if you notice you’re not attracting enough birds. However, if you follow the techniques laid out in this post you’re guaranteed to have a few nests in your garden soon enough.

Once that’s happened, you can start thinking about what garden furniture to bring in so that you can comfortably enjoy birdwatching. If you’re working with a small outdoor space, check out our guide to the best garden furniture for small gardens.

Furthermore, if you’re in an area which has a large fox population, you’ll be well served by our post detailing how to keep foxes out of your garden. Foxes are omnivores and birds are some of their favourite animals to prey on; they might soon wise up to the fact that your bird-rich garden is an excellent feeding spot.

6 Ways of Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden

Posted by admin on Jun 18, 2019 under Backyard

The hustle and bustle characteristic of those overcrowded urban environments in which most of us drone away from dawn to dusk can become quite overwhelming. Having a beautiful garden may provide you and your family with a place where it’s possible to relax following a busy day at the office.

Establishing a stronger connection to the natural world is now more necessary than ever. The UN warned in its 2019 Global Assessment that entire ecosystems are deteriorating and, in some cases, even vanishing as a result of human activity, with approximately 1 million species being threatened with extinction.

However, through the bleak predictions of more than 140 expert authors from 50 countries, a hopeful light still glimmers: the report advances the possibility that it’s not too late to make a difference. Change must occur at every level from local to global, and it needs to start right now with each one of us!

In what follows, we’ll provide a few quick and easy tips to help garden owners do their part in preserving the diversity of life on the planet we inhabit. Attracting wildlife to your garden will both create a beautiful environment for you to enjoy, and provide various fauna with new habitats following the systematic destruction of their own.


6 Ways of Attracting Wildlife to Your Garden:

1. Attract Pollinators

2. Become a Beekeeper

3. Plant a Variety of Trees

4. Install Nesting Boxes

5. Create a Water Feature

6. Replace your Garden Walls with Hedgerows

Photo credit: happyfamilyart/Shutterstock

1. Attract Pollinators

Pollinator is a blanket term for all organisms which, by moving pollen from one part of a plant to another, allow it to become fertilised and to produce fruits or seeds. Without these organisms plants would not be able to reproduce; they are thus integral to the proper functioning of the natural ecosystem.

If you’re wondering how to attract wildlife to your garden, setting up your yard so that it’s appealing to pollinators is a good first step.

There are over 1500 pollinators in the UK, including various types of bees, hummingbirds, moths, and many others. In order to attract these types of creatures to your garden, you should look to plant different types of flowers in your yard.

Look to seed local varieties of flowering plants as it’s likely the local fauna will prefer these. However, some types of flowers are better than others at attracting pollinators. Here are a few of the best you should look into, according to what type of animal you’re looking to attract:

Butterflies:

  • Lilac
  • Mint
  • Lavender

Bees:

  • Sunflower
  • Bee Balm
  • Snapdragon

Hummingbirds:

  • Fuchsia
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Columbine

Putting together a rock garden will also go a long way in creating a yard that’s teeming with life and which oozes natural beauty. A rock garden is a small hill made of dirt and rocks on which specific plants (sometimes referred to as ‘rock plants’) are planted.

Few people are aware of the fact that the vast majority of bees (about 70% according to some figures) do not live in hives, instead choosing to nest in the ground. Building a small rock garden will provide these species of bees with a great place to settle down. You could even set up a place within your rock garden or close to it where to you can build a potential nesting place for wild bees. If done properly, bees flying overhead will identify this spot in your garden as a perfect place for them to nest.

Once pollinators make a habit of frequenting your garden, you’ll see the flora flourish year after year as the bees, butterflies, and birds go to work and spread pollen far and wide. You’ll probably see new flowering plants pop up in your garden, brought by these same insects and birds.

Photo credit: OlgaKok/Shutterstock

2. Become a Beekeeper

If your local population of bees isn’t quite where it needs to be, or if you’ve just been unlucky and haven’t had any bees nest in your rock garden, you could always get into beekeeping.

When done properly, beekeeping can be a fun and healthy hobby which also brings material benefits (in the form of honey and beeswax, which have a plethora of uses). If you’ve got family members who are allergic to bees, or if you yourself are allergic, keeping bees should certainly not be at the top of your priority list when it comes to attracting wildlife to your garden. However, for everyone else needing more information on how to start and manage a backyard beekeeping operation, our guide to backyard beekeeping will certainly prove to be invaluable.

Keeping bees in your backyard will attract various types of wildlife which prey on the honeybee. These include birds, small mammals, reptiles, and even other insects. With a steady supply of bees available in your garden, birds might even look to nest in the yard so as to take advantage of the feeding opportunity.  

Photo credit: Chiyacat/Shutterstock

3. Plant a Variety of Trees

One of the most effective actions you can take in order to attract wildlife to your garden is to go on a tree planting spree. Trees provide the basic necessities of wildlife survival:

  • Food – the fruits, buds, and even sap of trees in your yard will feed animals such as squirrels, possums, tree frogs, and of course birds.
  • Water – rainwater which collects on trees’ leaves becomes an excellent source of fresh water for wildlife.
  • Shelter – a wide range of animals make their nests in trees, not only birds. Squirrels, frogs, butterflies, and even possums can nest in trees. (Although possums do not create their own nests, they will appropriate any hollowed-out log or tree segment which has been abandoned by the owner).

Thus, planting trees will instantly create a hotspot for nest-building. It’s best to choose trees that are native to the area you live in. This will ensure that there are already animals which use these for food or shelter, making it more likely that these local species will set up shop in your garden.  

If you’ve got enough space to work with, planting a few trees one next to the other will create a forest-like habitat in which animals will feel safe. This will increase your chances of scoring a few garden denizens.  

Photo credit: Ed Reinsel/Shutterstock

4. Install Nesting Boxes

We have touched upon the sway which trees have on animals, providing food, shelter and even water for all manners of local fauna. Let us now turn our attention to a specific type of creature: the bird.

If you want to attract birds to your garden, you should look into building (or buying) and installing bird nests throughout your yard. A pre-built bird nest offers obvious advantages to a bird looking to settle down. Firstly, they don’t need to waste time building their own. Secondly, the wooden structure of the pre-built nest is usually more durable than what birds are able to build themselves.

For those wanting more information, we’ve also written a guide containing in-depth information on how to attract birds to your garden which is worth checking out. 

Photo credit: Ron Zmiri/Shutterstock

5. Create a Water Feature

We’ve gone through various tactics you can adopt in order to attract land animals to your garden, but what about aquatic wildlife?

In order to attract this kind of wildlife to your garden you’ll need to first install some sort of water feature. Creating a small pond is quite easy; all you need is a shovel and some liner in order to keep the water from being absorbed into the ground. Here are a few general pointers:

  • Don’t dig too deep. Your pond should be mostly made up of shallow areas, as this is what most of the wildlife you want to attract prefers. If you want to have a deeper area in which to drop some fish, make sure it isn’t deeper than 40 feet.
  • Don’t make your shallow areas too shallow. If they are, you could see them dry out completely during hotter summer days (and nobody wants that, least of all the creatures that have come to call it home).
  • Make sure the hole is level so that you won’t have water leaking out on one side.

Most pond wildlife will feel best in shallow waters. During mating season, frogs search out shallow ponds in order to lay their eggs. Tadpoles love shallow ponds and it is here where they flourish. If you want to attract frogs, make sure the pond has lots of vegetation around it and is well shaded.

Various other animals will be enticed by garden water features, including most insects. Small mammals such as hedgehogs will rejoice at the sight of a safe drinking spot.   

Photo credit: Dmitry Naumov/Shutterstock

6. Replace your Garden Walls with Hedgerows

Another great tactic for those wondering how to attract wildlife to their garden is replacing garden walls or fences with hedgerows. Hedgerows are hedges made of shrubs or trees which act as natural walls or fencing.

By planting a native hedgerow you’ll not only deliver nesting places for wild birds, but you’ll also provide food during the winter months for animals which eat berries, nuts, or hips. If any of these are nesting animals, they might make your garden their new home.


Looking to the Future:

With wildlife on our planet in peril, and with natural habitats dwindling daily, it will take both a top down and bottom up approach to fight the impeding doom which we’ve steered ourselves towards. We know that change happens gradually, and most often starts with a few individuals taking action and setting an example. Why not transform your garden into a safe haven for wildlife? Why not create new natural habitats in our own backyards as the old ones keep vanishing?

After you’ve optimised your garden for wildlife attraction, you could check out our post on the best garden furniture for small gardens. After all, you’ll also need a place to rest while marvelling at the natural oasis you’ve created.

There are also probably many of you who will want to get rid of some types of pesky wildlife which are ruining your garden. For this, we’ve put together two handy guides on how to keep foxes out of the garden and how to get rid of wasps in the garden.