There is nothing more cheerful and vibrant than the colour and sound of birds in the garden. Especially in Spring time when their song reminds us that the garden is returning from its slumber in winter.
A bird house is a great improvement for any garden in winter. As feeding platforms, they really work because they provide a place for birds to land close to the house or even outside the window, where birds would not normally risk landing.
They can see, however, that it is high up and safe, and can land and have a look around. It is interesting to watch how their habits change—the first time a new bird lands on the bird house, they only stay for two seconds!
The location shouldn’t make too much of a difference, but birds are shy creatures and they won’t want it in a very busy area where they’d get scared off.
The quieter corners of the garden are the best place to have them. It’s a trade-off with the view from your window!
Traditional bird houses on posts can be easier for rodents to climb. They’re normally rat-proof, but not much of a problem for squirrels.
Some bird houses come with a hanging wire to hang them from a tree—if the wire is long enough it can even mean the squirrel won’t risk jumping onto the bird house. A smooth metal pole can also prevent the squirrel from climbing up, and smaller feed holes mean they can’t get their heads in to steal the food.
A bird house is like a jewel in the garden; it is a joy for the household and the birds.
A typical bird house in the shape of a small dwelling house would range from 29 to 80 euro, and 80 euro will get you one with all the bells and whistles—and maybe even a tiled roof.
If you have small children it can be very educational, but adults should take the time to get to know the creatures that come to their garden too.
You can buy a pair of binoculars and do some bird watching, but it is very important to purchase a bird feed with a wide range of seed types—this encourages more varieties of bird to come.
Learning about the different types of birds and their habits, songs and characteristics can be fascinating, and really spark a life long love of wildlife in young people.
It takes time to attract the birds too, and it could be weeks before they risk their first visit. It has to be pet-proof: a dog would not get at the birds, but they could make enough noise to keep them away. If you do have a dog, keep your feeders up higher—the same goes for cats.
Alan Battersby is the owner and founder of theAshbrook Garden Centre.
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