Tuesday, July 9, 2019

5 Ways To Transform Your Yard Into A Bird Sanctuary

Chikadee bird

5 Ways To Transform Your Yard Into A Bird Sanctuary

I know what you’re going to say. “I see birds in my yard all the time. What more do I need to do?”

I’m glad you asked.

Fact is, birds really could use your help. Sure, diseases and weather-related hardships take their toll. Habitat is diminishing in some areas, or the neighborhood just isn’t what it used to be.Cats, especially of the feral persuasion, are estimated to kill 1.3 – 4.0 billion birds annuallyin the United States. Accidents and collisions with man-made vehicles and structures account for the deaths of millions more.

With those things in mind, here are five ways to transform your yard into a bird sanctuary:
  1. Make your yard a welcoming place for birds. Provide the basic things birds need – food, water, shelter, and places to nest. Plan your landscape with your feather friends in mind. Include shrubs and trees, and especially native plants that produce their favorite foods. Cedar waxwings swarm my holly and mulberry trees for the berries in spring. Pileated woodpeckers swoop in to peck the bright red magnolia seeds from their pods. Provide bird baths and shallow pools for water. Erect bird houses, nesting boxes, and leave nesting materials about for them to snuggle up in.
  2. Provide foods they’ll actually eat. Black-oil sunflower seeds work best for our birds, while millet and nyjer seeds go mostly untouched. We found that some brands of suet are ignored, but others are devoured in short order. If you’re not sure what will work for you, experiment with small amounts of different foods, or ask a bird-lover in your area. When you get it figured out, make sure you keep an ample supply in your feeders.
  3. Keep it clean. You wouldn’t want to eat in a nasty restaurant, would you? Neither do the birds. So, keep the feeders and water sources clean. A monthly scouring works. Wooden feeders should be lightly brushed to remove caked-on food. Metal suet cages and plastic bird feeders can probably go in the dishwasher. Birdbaths should be scrubbed with a wire brush. Keep fresh water on tap. If discarded seeds and hulls begin to accumulate, rake them up and get rid of them. And don’t forget to tidy up in and around the bird houses, too. Germs, mites and untold kinds of pestilence will congregate in dirty nesting boxes.
  4. Prevent accidents from happening. Most of us have heard the sickening thunk of a bird flying into a window. It might’ve thought it was portal into a better world, a way to escape, or the image (mirrored) of a foe. At any rate, the window turned out to be none of those things. You can avoid such accidents by attaching decals or stickers to your big windows. See-through screens outside the windows might soften the blow. Not only windows, but who-knows-what-else can hurt the birds: porch fans, low-hanging strings, hammocks, nets and chemicals can be hazardous. Scout for them, and think how you might mitigate or eliminate the danger.
  5. Now, about those cats. Even precious puddy tats are capable of catching innocent little birds to leave as gifts on your doorstep. If you can’t or won’t keep your cats indoors or feral beasts roam about, mount your feeders, baths and nesting boxes so the felines can’t get at them. And, for Pete’s sake, don’t feed your birds on the ground.
A Tale of Two Kitties cartoon image

These few steps should help you help the birds. Think how satisfied you’ll feel knowing the good you’ve done for the birds.

Return to GoGardenNow.com.

No comments: