Learn to nurture birdlife in your garden. Learn to attract birds to your garden. Birds are highly attuned to changes in the environment such as pollution and habitat loss due to rapid housing development and deforestation. But you can lend a helping hand. Think of your garden as a pocket ecosystem that provides a haven for birds disturbed by the changing world around us.
Since 1970, Canada has witnessed a sharp decline in shorebirds, grassland birds, and insectivores — a worrying trend that means these groups represent 80% of the bird population threatened or endangered across the country. This is measured at locations places such as the Prince Edward Point Observatory.
Caring for the local birdlife is also beneficial for you. Why? Birds provide natural pest control in your garden, with insectivores all too happy to consume mosquitoes and various creepy crawlies causing havoc amongst your plants.
Table of contents
Read on as we explore how to to attract birds to your garden by providing reliable food, water, and shelter. But first, a …
Video on Attracting Birds in Your Garden
Establish natural food sources
Supplementary food sources such as bird tables stacked with hearts and shop-bought seeds are often the first port of call for people wanting to attract birds (more on this later). But have you considered establishing a natural food source in your garden? By emulating a bird’s natural instinct to forage and feed, your garden can prove to be a king-size feast for our feathered friends.
For example, lawns are often an organic feeding ground for small, grassland birds like robins and sparrows. With this in mind, establishing natural feeding spots such as berry bushes and fruit trees. These can keep local birds well fed throughout the year.
Moreover, it’s important to provide places to eat for all animal residents in your garden. This is because your garden is home to a secret world of insects, which supports plant growth in your backyard, as well as provides insectivores with essential nutrients.
Provide supplementary food (especially in small gardens)
Establishing natural food sources is ideal for turning your garden into a bustling ecosystem. But food shortages can occur at any time. As a consequence, birds are often reliant on supplementary feeding platforms. These are especially important to sustain themselves during winter and other periods of harsh weather.
If you have limited space for plants to grow, platforms like a hanging bird table are ideal for small gardens. They provide solid perching space where birds can enjoy a buffet of seeds and fruit.
Create lots of varied shelter
Birds need room to shelter and breed, which involves lots of varied cover to keep local birdlife feeling safe and secure living in your garden. Alongside food and water, this is the most basic of needs. All the more essential for attracting birds to your garden.
Your garden can provide essential shelter for birds (and other wildlife) in many ways:
- Trees and bushes: lots of cover from predators and space to build a nest.
- Deadwood and trimmings: valuable hiding space for insects and bugs.
- Tall, wild grass: growing wild provides shelter and space to hide.
- Bird boxes: artificial shelter to promote roosting and nesting.
Incorporating all types of shelter into your garden provides plenty of safe space. This applies birds as well as to the various other wildlife calling your garden home.
Supply fresh, clean water
Water is the elixir of life for all flora and fauna in your garden. Birds require a reliable supply of clean water to bathe, as well as to stay hydrated. Bathing is an essential routine for birds, making their feathers easier to preen, which keeps them insulated and waterproof in cold weather.
Tall bird baths, positioned under shelter, are often recommended because they protect local birdlife from potential predators like foxes and larger birds. You also need to ensure the water does not freeze during our typically harsh Canadian winters — this can be achieved by pouring boiling water over the bath to defrost the ice sheet.
Following a period of worrying decline amongst shorebirds, grassland birds, and insectivores, we must welcome local birdlife into our gardens and learn to nurture our feathered friends. By providing necessities like food, water, and shelter, you can create a haven for birds that provides a safe and secure home.
About the Author
Charlie Warner: writer, birder, and all-around nature lover. Charlie is an experienced digital copywriter who specialises in creating informative lifestyle content. He loves to share his knowledge with a global community passionate about protecting nature.