Birding for Beginners – How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

So you want to get to know your birds?The best way to do that is to start locally, in your garden. In this Birding for Beginners Series I will first give you some pointers on how to attract birds to your garden.

Most often they don’t just fly into your garden, you will need to attract them there and I’m going to teach you how. Back in the day we didn’t have such things as Birding for Beginners books or blog post or How To Guides, so hopefully, along with my post and others, you will be an avid bird watcher in no time at all.


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How to Attract Birds to your Garden

How I started, was by buying a bird feeder and pouring some bird seed onto it, sitting back on a garden chair under the shade of our verandah, with binoculars and a field guide and waiting for the flutter to start.

Now depending on the size of your garden and the climate you live-in and obviously where you live, will determine how you go about altering your garden to attract some birds.

But, before we get technical, and before you feel you may need a degree in botany and landscape architecture to understand what plants go where and how, let’s just start with the basics, shall we? Considering this is birding for beginners,  I just want to get you all interested in birding and not chase you away from it.

What attractions do you need?

    • Bird Feeder

Buy a birdfeeder. Or better yet, if you’re a Handy -Andy, build one. Create an illustrious one with different layers and perches, or just a simple single layer.

Hang it from a tree with lots of cover nearby (by that I mean branches of trees and bushes that birds can hide in, between bursts of feeding “out in the open”.

I like to have a variety of feeders in my garden. Some are for small seed eaters and some are for larger seed eaters.  Also create a feeding platform for left over fruit, bread and meat, attracting a wider variety of birds.

Bird feeder
My personal bird feeding platform and bird bath in the background

You can have a look at a few other options selling on Amazon, to get an ide of the variety on offer: –

Panorama Bird Feeder – Single Deck Lantern

Woodlink Deluxe Cedar Bird Feeder

Hanging Tube Bird Feeder – Heavy Duty

    • Bird Bath

Get yourself a bird bath. Birds need to drink …and bath

Just like the bird feeders, do not place a bird bath out in the open, but rather between some bushes and trees where birds can get cover between flitters to the bath.

A bird bath can either be a: –

      • Concrete bowl on a stand
      • Pond
      • Hollowed out rock
      • Water feature of any shape or size

Make sure it is cleaned and filled regularly, which will attract more birds.

Either make it yourself or have a look at a few examples below that might interest you.

Deck Bowl Spa Mount Bird Bath

Lightweight Antique Outdoor Garden Bird Bath

Burley Clay Simple Elegance Bellflower Bird Bath

 

Birdbath Flower
Beautiful flower above a birdbath

Fruit Tree Bird Bath
A protective fruit bearing bush above birdbath
    • Nectar Feeder

Why not add a nectar feeder into your arsenal to attract a wider variety of birds. Nectar feeders can replace some flowering plants that can attract birds more regularly. A good CHEAP HOME-MADE version would be Just plain sugar water in a red coloured bottle.

Instead of using food coloring or dye, as this is not healthy for the birds, just cover the bottle with red tape.

Nectar Feeder
Nectar feeder. But instead of red food colouring use a red permanent marker or red plastic covering to attact the birds

If it’s too much trouble to make your own , then checkout these variety of nectar feeders: –

Hanging Hummingbird Feeder with 8 Feeding Ports

Glass Brand Humming Bird Feeders

Gray Bunny Mini Hummingbird Feeders

    • Bird  Friendly  Landscape

Basically you need to create a habitat for birds that will fulfil all their basic needs. You already have food and water now you need shelter and nesting sites. Indigenous plants are best

The plants and trees in your garden will dependant on the size of it.

Smaller Gardens

Create an exclusion zone in the corner of your garden where you can plant a few bushes and place your bird feeder and bath or even a small water feature

Create some kind of structure like a small gazebo covered in climbing plants or plant taller bushes with smaller ones in front to create different levels/layers

Poinsettia Flower
Poinsettia Flower

Larger Gardens – Speak to your local horticulturist at the nursery to get some ideas

    • A wide variety of plants are best
    • Different landscapes in one garden is even better – Try keeping plants that are indigenous to your location and region
    • Try adding plants that flower at different times of the year
    • Layer your garden, with tall trees, intermediates and small shrubs and bushes
    • Dead trees (unless they are a hazard) are good to keep around
    • Hollowed out logs can attract nesting birds, just place them in a cool area and keep the entrance dry
    • Decaying  matter in your flowerbeds will attract insects
    • Owl houses are a wonderful added feature

Larger trees and bushes
Larger trees and bushes can attract a variety of birds

Now go pour yourself and ice cold drink, fetch your binoculars, get your app and / or field guide and watch the wonderful world of garden birds unfold before your eyes.

Happy Birding!!

If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Warm Regards,

Matt

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