Tips for Bird Friendly Gardens

Gardening

Tips for bird friendly gardens

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Welcome birds to your garden by introducing a bird box. They provide a good nesting area, which may be otherwise unavailable. There are some gorgeous styles - your local garden centre should have a good selection.

Picking plants

Garden birds are attracted to crab apples, honeysuckle and sunflowers. They also love plants with berries in the winter, such as holly. Birds create nests in the trees, and the fruit attracts other wildlife.

Feeding garden birds

• Bird seed mixes - opt for a good quality one with flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules. Avoid any containing green or pink lumps (dog biscuits), which can only be eaten when soaked.

• Fat balls and food bars - they are full of calories and great for the winter! Just remember to remove the mesh nets before putting them outside, as they can cause injury to birds.

• Black sunflower seeds - these are very popular with finches

• Peanuts - they are a good source of fat and a variety of birds love them! Remember; don't use salted or dry roasted peanuts. Buy peanuts from a reputable garden centre or pet shops in order to avoid peanuts that are high in a natural toxin which can kill birds.

• Insects - such as fresh mealworms (do not use dead or discoloured ones - as this can cause issues including salmonella poisoning). Waxworms are a good choice too.

Top tip

Use good quality mesh feeders to protect chicks from being fed whole nuts and choking.

Do not feed birds:

• Dry dog or cat biscuits - birds can choke on these

• Milk - this can cause serious stomach problems or death • Desiccated coconut - this can serious stomach problems or death

• Cooking fat - this can get stuck in birds feathers and can be detrimental to birds' health, due to bacteria

• Polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils - birds need saturated fat instead. This can also damage feathers

• Mouldy food - this can cause infections

Top tip

Install bird tables and feeders to help protect birds from cats, ensuring they are away from areas where cats could hide.

Health and Hygiene

Unfortunately, a number of garden birds die every year due to the transmission of diseases. To reduce this risk, ensure water bowls contain fresh water and clean them daily. Clean bird feeders once a week, and remember to dry the containers before refilling. Fill a bucket with 3 capfuls of Zoflora and dilute with hot water. Once a week, soak the plastic bird feeders in the disinfectant, remove, rinse thoroughly and dry. Please be aware Zoflora is not suitable on wood or polished wood surfaces. You can also help to reduce the transmission of disease by rotating water and food areas. Remove stale or mouldy food from bird feeders straight away to avoid salmonella bacteria breeding (which can cause food poisoning).

 

Information sourced from:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/organic_wildgardens1.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/22433553

http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/inthewild/feedinggardenbirds

http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/feeding/whatfood/

Posted by Zoflora (20/01/2015)