Birdwatching: The perfect family hobby this lockdown
After a gloomy few months why not add some colour and chirpiness to your garden? Attracting birds to your garden is much easier than you think. Not only do they make fantastic visitors but they are relaxing to watch.
Being able to spot them from your own home is also a great way to get kids learning about nature, whilst you’re currently home schooling.
How to get started with bird bird watching…
- Set up some bird feeders
You can easily encourage birds to visit by setting up some bird feeders in your garden. There are tonnes of different bird feeds available to attract a huge variety of different bird species. Check out some food examples bound to bring the birds in.
- Sunflower hearts -These are wonderfully nutritious snacks as they are rich in protein. They are a popular choice with siskins, house sparrows, robins and finches.
- Suet balls – These are ideal for this time of year. They provide birds with the calories they need to get them through these cold winter months. They will win over the robins, blue tits and long-tailed tits.
- Niger seeds – these will need to be placed in a special feeder because they are so small however they are very popular amongst the siskins, greenfinches and goldfinches.
- Mealworms – These are available alive or dried, but provide a luxury treat for blackbirds, starlings and robins in particular.
- Peanuts – Also a hit with us humans, this great snack is full of protein and fat, so are great during the winter. Having peanuts on your garden menu is likely to attract tits, finches and siskins.
Remember to be patient, as you may have to wait a while for the birds to discover your brand new restaurant, but once they have they’ll be more than likely to return and I’m sure will bring a few friends along too.
It’s important to regularly top up your bird feeder, and position it somewhere where your birds can spot danger easily, for example near a tall hedge or tree. It;s best to avoid lower positions where it’s easily accessible to cats.
2. Give the birds somewhere to nest.
Another really great way to encourage birds into your garden is to provide them with a safe place to nest. Ideally somewhere away from direct sunlight or strong winds. Depending on the species you want to attract, there are some great nesting boxes on the market that provide the perfect home for your birds. You can buy some fantastic nesting boxes or even make a DIY version, from wood or cotton wool.
3. Provide plenty of fresh water
Water is crucial for birds for survival, not only for drinking but bathing too. Provide them with a fresh, clean water oasis, and your garden will be their dream home. You can place a bird bath in the garden, by putting out a large bowl or fountain, just make sure it’s away from potential predators again.
Plant bird friendly plants
Create endless treats for your birds by planting bird friendly shrubs, trees and plants. Not only will these provide shelter but they’ll also provide a delicious natural food source. Berry-rich trees and shrubs like rowan, hawthorn, guelder rose and holly are a fantastic choice for a tasty treat and they also provide great shelter and protection.
Plants that provide a good seed source are also a great choice such as teasels or sunflowers. Ivy and honeysuckle are also a great hit with the birds – they provide dense cover, fruits and attract insects for birds to feast on.
Planting Wildflowers are also great as they attract the insects that birds love to feed on. It kills two birds with one stone too as you supply your birds with endless food whilst creating a beautiful flower display in your garden.
Birds to look out for in January – February