How To Help Nesting Birds in Your Garden
If you have noticed little Starlings, Robins, Greenfinches, Blue tits, and House Sparrows bringing your garden to life, you know that Spring is on the way! During this magical time of the year, you can welcome these neighbours into your garden and look at them in awe as they build their nest.
Gardens, patios, and lawns have never been so important for birds that venture into the urban environment to find shelter and food during the nesting season. And, there are a few ways for you to help them take residence in your garden and enjoy a happy nesting season! Aside from leaving out some kitchen scraps, there are many ways to encourage and protect birding nests - check them out below!
Here's how to tell the difference between swifts, swallows and martins and everything you need to know about blue tits.
What To Expect From the Nesting Birds in Your Garden
During these months spent indoors, you might have been looking out of the window often. Have you started to notice bright flashes of colour and a musical singing in the morning? It means that nesting birds are in the area, looking for a comfortable and safe place to get their family started. Here is what to expect!
How Long Will They Be There?
In the UK, the Bird Nesting Season spans from February (end of January in some years) until August. However, the peak of the season is between the beginning of March and the end of July. Naturally, these timings change depending on the species of your new garden residents, that year’s weather, and availability of locations.
At the end of summer, the little birds are ready to fly off and explore the world. However, until then, there is plenty you can do to make sure they have a safe and enjoyable childhood.
Check Out How Their Work
Have you always been fascinated by the mystery of birds crafting their nest? Luckily, this time, technology is on your side! You can check out the whole process - from the initial leaves and sticks collection to the daily routine of the whole family.
You can do all this by setting up a bird box camera or a bird feeder camera. Whether the birds are nesting just under your nose or they visit your garden for food and water, you can take part in their daily activities and enjoy their vivacity.
8 Tips To Help Nesting Birds in Your Garden
Be Mindful When Adding Plants to Your Garden
If you are bringing new plants into your garden or you are redesigning the entire landscape, you can attract more birds to your outside area by picking the species wisely. Firstly, learn more about the common species in the area and when they are the most likely to start nesting.
Then invest in a selection of plants that start fruiting right during the nesting season! This will provide the birds with fresh, natural, and readily available food that they can use as energy - or feed their little ones!
There are several species that are perfect for the job, but you should not miss out on holly berries, ivy, and guelder roses.
Leave Out Fallen Leaves – Your New Neighbours Will Take Care of Them!
Garden leaves are often an annoyance for homeowners and gardeners. Indeed, no matter how much care you put into clearing the lawn, a small breeze will completely undermine your efforts! Luckily, your new garden residents love small sticks, leaves, and twigs, and they can use them to build their nests.
Leaving out leaves for nesting birds is an excellent way to provide them with the necessary building material - and minimize your efforts to keep your garden clean!
Keep Your Other Pets Away From the Nest
For how much they are loving pets, cats can represent a threat to nesting birds. Even if not acting maliciously, cats will always try to catch a fledgling when you are not looking! Additionally, cats have a special nose for finding nests, and they are not afraid to climb trees to get to their prey. Consider keeping them indoors - at least until nesting season is over!
Supply Clean Water
One of the things nesting birds are always looking for is sources of freshwater. Indeed, don’t forget that the nesting season starts during the winter months when there is limited availability of food and water. While the warmer spring rains can provide some puddles and freshwater, this is not always enough.
If you have a fountain in your garden, keep it free of chemicals. Alternatively, you might consider putting out a bowl of fresh water and refreshing its content every couple of days.
Find the Perfect Spot for Your Bird Feeders
Providing your nesting birds with fresh food and water is one of the most important helps you can give them. However, where you place your bird feeders matter! Indeed, you might instinctively try to put it as close to their nests as possible. However, this source of food can start to attract other unwanted visitors, such as grey squirrels, which can attack nesting birds.
You can protect your friendly garden residents by placing the bird feeder closer to your home.
You Might Not Love It… but They Will!
As we have seen, leaving out twigs and leaves help birds find enough building material for their nests. However, there are other objects that they will love to have in their homes! For example, you should consider leaving eggshells and pet hairs on a container just outside your home.
Provide Shelter and High-Quality Food
Nesting birds will always be on the lookout for food sources - for themselves and for their fledgelings. While it might be challenging for them to find enough food in an urban environment, you should consider putting out fresh, high-energy food that is suitable for them. Mealworms, peanuts, seeds, and suet balls are great options - but make sure to break down the bigger pieces of bird food to avoid any choking hazards.
A Few No-Nos Of Caring for Nesting Birds
So here are some of the best tips to attract and encourage your garden residents during the nesting season. In exchange for your help, you will be able to enjoy wildlife in your garden and pleasant singing to lift your day.
A few don’ts of looking after nesting birds include:
- You should avoid cutting down trees or trimming any garden hedges during the nesting season
- Don’t leave a feeder dirty or full of debris, as this can create an unhygienic environment and become a cradle for bacteria
- Don’t leave the water outside for too long
- Don’t feed birds big chunks of food (such as whole peanuts), which can represent a choking hazard.