Create a Backyard Bird Sanctuary
Birds are endless fun to look at here at the Ornate Bird Garden. Besides, over the harsh winters, you can often be directly responsible for ensuring the survival of entire flocks of the little feathered guys!
What You Will Need:
- Seed feeders, one or more (available in garden centers and most stores).
- Suet feeders. These look like little cages and contain suet (which are slabs of fat with seeds mixed in: high-energy treats).
- Seed mixtures
- Bird-bath, one or more. You can make these yourself.
- Bird-house, one or more.
- Small mesh bags, which can be found at bird supply stores or you can save the mesh bags from a bunch of oranges or onions from the grocery store
Step 1: Decide where you want to put the feeding area. On your back porch or close to your window is good – unless you own cats or dogs that might threaten the birds. Then you may want to put the bird-bath and the feeders on poles out in the open (perhaps the middle of your back yard) so that the birds can see any approaching threats and fly away. Many birds like doves and pigeons insist on eating off the ground. You can scatter seed for them, or they will eat what the smaller birds kick down for them from the hanging feeders. You must clear away any tall landscaping or objects that cats can hide behind to launch an attack.
Step 2: Fill your feeders with seed or suet. If you worry about the seeds sprouting into sunflowers and corn in your lawn, then buy the non-germinating type of bird seed.
Step 3: Fill your bird-bath with water. The bird-bath should be shallow enough that birds will only have to stand in a 1-inch depth of water. You can put a flat rock beneath the water to give them something to stand on. Note: birds are attracted to the sound of running water. If you want to buy a small fountain at a garden center, birds will come flocking to your back yard. Every day you should check the water for evaporation, and change it if it’s dirty.
Birds love the sound of running water!
Step 4: Place your bird-house(s). Put it AWAY from the feeding area. All the twittering and action around the feeding area are too stressful for nesting birds. Attach your bird-house to a sturdy tree branch, or perhaps beneath the eaves of your house. In spring and summer, bird-houses will attract nesting birds. In winter, bird-houses will keep birds from freezing. During the cold months, place bird-houses so that they face south (first choice) or west. This will allow sunlight to warm the house, and block out the cold north winds.
Step 5: Place your mesh bags. Stuff the mesh bags with whatever soft, shredded things you have on hand: pieces of yarn or string, straw, pet fur from grooming, dropped feathers from your pet birds, hair from your comb, and/or small bits of cloth. Hang these bags up near the bird-houses in spring and summer and watch birds swarm to them to pull out nesting materials! This gives the little feathered guys a break in that they don’t have to range too far to find appealing scraps with which to build their nests.
Mesh bag filled with seeds
Step 6: Give the birds time to grow accustomed to the area. Birds are very cautious. They may try the seeds in a few weeks, but take a month or two to bathe in the bird-bath. Have patience.
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