How Do You Attract Birds ?
So how do you attract birds” to your home ? Well, this summer when all those birds” come visiting your home,what will you do? Will you start dicing up the apples to keep them hanging around or simply bask in there presence until they have had enough and flutter away again until next time ? Interacting with birds” can bring some wonderful benefits for both you and your surroundings not to mention the therapeutic benefits that they can bring. Australia has some of the most beautiful birds” in the world and such a huge variety but before we delve into the secrets of keeping our birds” hanging around our backyards, we thought it might be fun to share some facts about our birds” as well.
Some folks are reluctant to make an effort to attract birds” fearing that they may be damaging the birds” health in some way. Compared to many other countries,there has been little research done here into the effects of feeding our feathered friends so there has been no clear guidelines into the do’s and don’ts of what to feed or how to provide water which is why an Australian bird feeding and watering study was conducted. Around 3000 people were engaged in monitoring our birds” in there normal movements around there feeding areas and birdbaths.It was important to distinguish what type of birds” were visiting our backyards and the if there was differing factors between birds” where food, bird baths etc was provided as opposed to those birds” which nothing was provided at all. Some of that study also highlighted some interesting info on birds” where bird baths were provided but no food and visa -versa. You can find that research information Here.
Get To Know The Locals
The very first thing that you should do is find out what kind of birds” are visiting your neighborhood by contacting your local councils wildlife Department or a bird watching society in your local area to get an idea of what types of birds” you are likely to be attracting.It’s not unusual in some areas to attract as much as 40 different species so if you set your habitat up correctly, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to achieve the same.
Beware The Cat
Before you dive in with different ideas and strategies to attract our feathered friends, it might be a good idea to give some thought around the local feline community otherwise you might be sentencing your poor birds” to death. Unfortunately cats are responsible for a large quantity of deaths in local areas and indeed across the country so you must think of a way to get around this problem. There has been some moderate success by attaching a bell on the cats collar but recent research has suggested that a rainbow coloured collar with reflective strips which is similar to what the average clown wears has significantly reduced the amount of attacks. Apparently because birds” have very sensitive eyesight and can spot the cat from a long distance. Worth a shot anyway.
One of the most important factors to consider apart from setting up the environment is the supply of fresh water. A source of water is essential for attracting a high number of birds” to the area however having said that,it is also important to give some consideration as to the location. Is it safe for them to swim in? Are the birds” that are visiting your bird bath able to drink and escape quickly if they need to?The last thing that you will need is an environment where birds” can be picked off by a cat. Make sure that the birdbaths are shallow enough to allow the birds” to stand up in and also consider having multiple drinking outlets rather than having one area where all birds” converge making them easy targets and finally,make sure that there is clean and ample water supply for the birds” to drink otherwise they will move on to somewhere else.
While the war of words rages on in the northern hemisphere as to the encouragement of the feeding of wild birds”(and by the way, most are pretty happy with the idea) here in Australia, the view is that even though we love nothing more than sticking a handful of crushed up Salada biscuits for the wild birds” to feast on, we may be doing more harm than good. As a matter of fact , there may be some store purchased seed mixes that could be making our birds” downright ill despite what you may be reading on the packet which is why some bird lovers discourage the practice.
Some birds” can be extremely dependent on the freebies that you keep handing out so no prizes for guessing what happens if you decide to go on break for a couple of weeks.Imagine what would happen to you if you were not fed for an extended period not to mention how this can disrupt the fine balance of the Ecosystem and alter the natural behavior of birds” .
So What Plants Should I Choose?
So now that you know the effects of feeding wild birds”, hopefully you will be just considering keeping our feathered friends replenished with water which brings us to another topic. What plants should you be looking out for? Well, before you start tackling that question, there’s a couple words that I want you to become familiar with. Biodiversity and Strata Layers. You will need to be acquainted with these if you want to attract a variety of birds”. Biodiversity simply put means having an environmental arrangement of various plants.trees and shrubs to attract the many species of birds” that we possess. Now that doesn’t mean that you should go out and a multitude of gum trees and the like . ( even though it certainly won’t hurt to have a couple of these about.) a little of research may be required on your part to get an idea as to what sort environment you are trying to create and what sort of birds” you are trying to attract.
It’s also important to create the right type of Strata layers ( There’s that other word) These layers are essential for developing the different layers that a bird would live in that make up an all important habitat for them. Birds and many other creatures live in different levels of vegetation so the more variety that you can provide them, the better the chances of attracting a variety of birds”.
For more information about native plants or birdscaping your garden contact your local branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants (SGAP). State contacts are given below (Northern Territory residents contact a neighboring state). The ACT group has produced information on bird attracting plants (see details for ACT contact below).
The SGAP maintains a comprehensive website at: www.austplants-nsw.org.au/. Or use your search engine to search for “SGAP”. State branches also have websites.
Society for Growing Australian Plants – Canberra Region Inc
PO Box 217
Civic Square 2608
Phone: (02) 6251 1501
Society for Growing Australian Plants (Australian Plant Society)
PO Box 744
Phone: (02) 9621 3437
48 Chermside Street
Wellington Point 4160
Phone: (07) 3207 1597
The SGAP SA Region Inc
17 Grandview Drive
Tea Tree Gully 5091
Phone: (08) 8264 0270
SGAP, Tasmanian Region Inc
176 Summerleas Road
Phone: (03) 6229 1710
48 Montrose Road
Mont rose 3765
Phone: (03) 9728 5891.
Wildflower Society of WA (Inc)
71 Oceanic Drive
Phone: (08) 9383 7979
Please contact a neighboring state.
A Final Word(Therapeutic Benefits)
I remember reading an article many years ago on the benefits of providing a haven for birds”. The focus surrounded the elderly in nursing homes and retirement villages as well as the joy that it brings to all ages.
Around 10 years ago, a survey was conducted by administrators of various nursing homes and some aged care facilities as to the impacts of bird feeding,watching and other activities relating to birds” and how it affects there residents. Most agreed that the interaction with birds” at some level had positive results which included a renewed purpose in life, self-esteem and a general well-being especially for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It also gave a common interest when families came to visit there relatives. A higher output of activities was also demonstrated when residents were involved in cleaning and maintaining of the bird feeding baths which gave them a sense of achievement and fulfillment.
No matter which way you look at, if you are willing to put in the time and effort in creating a safe bird habitat then you will be rewarded with visits from some truly amazing wildlife and a sense of being close to nature will give you a exhilarating experience.