Birds make a great addition to your garden, they’re great to look at and they’re useful as well. For instance,they will eat slugs, snails, aphids, insects and other well-known troublemakers.
It’s not difficult to attract birds to your garden, here are our top tips.
What Garden Birds Can You Attract in UK
There are many species of birds in the UK and most of them can be easily attracted to your garden, as long as your house isn’t situated too close to a big city. Big cities are usually only penetrated by predatory birds, like owls and gulls (in cities near the shore).
Some often seen species are:
And many others. See a full list on British Garden Birds.
Attract with a Bird Feeder
Nothing attracts animals as good as food does. Feeding birds year round will make them stay with you. Avoid wheat unless you want pigeons (most gardeners don’t)! A mixture of seeds including millet, sunflower and hemp will attach many of the more colourful specimens, like tits and even bullfinches.
Fat balls are especially useful in the winter months as the high energy content will help your feathered friends resist the cold. Buy these in any garden centre, most DIY stores, or make your own.
You can easily make your own bird feeder with recycled materials. Here is a quick guide.
How to Make a Bird Feeder
- Find an unused container. A plastic cup might do just fine, but if you want your feeder to last, you might need something more durable. An empty metal paint can would do the trick just fine.
- Attach an unused stick. Birds will find it hard to land on the box and eat. If they’re hungry, they’ll find a way anyhow, but to make them comfortable, you can attach a wooden stick to the opening of the paint box. You can use packing tape to mount it securely in place.
- Decorate. With the packing tape still on, your feeder wouldn’t be the most pleasant thing to look at. The birds won’t mind, but if you want to make it prettier, you can arm yourself with paint and brushes, and decorate your feeder just the way you like.
- Hang on a branch. You can improvise with just about anything – from standard rope to ribbons and even metal hinges for most security.
- Fill up. Pour some bird food inside and you’ll have some friendly visitors the same day.
Want to see how it works in practice? Check out Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matter infographic on how to build a bird feeder:
Attract with a Water Feature
Unfrozen drinking water is vital in winter, but many birds also enjoy bathing and a simple bird bath will only set you back a few pounds. Bathing birds are great fun to watch!
Attract with Shelter
Many species like to pop over to the bird feeder for a quick snack, then retreat into the safe cover of nearby trees or shrubs. Many plants that provide shelter will also double up as a food source in berries which also add autumn colour to your garden.
Birds use the winter to check out nesting sites and they’ll be suspicious of new boxes initially. But, once they deem your birdhouse safe enough, they will take advantage of it easily. You can buy them at your local gardening store, or make them yourself.
How to Build a Birdhouse
- Get materials. The best material for birdhouses is wood. Find a few durable boards and arm yourself with tools. You’ll need a tape measure, framing square, saw, paint brush, clamps, and a drill.
- Cut the wood. Cut the wooden boards with the saw in the shapes needed for the walls, floor and ceiling of your bird house. You can improvise with designs, or you can simply cut it into six squares. Your choice.
- Drill a hole in the middle of one of the boards. You need to make it big enough for a bird to get in – that will be your entrance.
- Assemble the box. Use glue to attach the walls, bottom and top together. Once it’s stable enough, use a hammer and nails to keep it all together.
- Decorate. Apply a water-based exterior paint in the colour you like.
- Hang your construction. Once the paint is dry, use a wire, chain or rope to hang it securely on a tree branch.
- Clean the birdhouse. If you notice the birdhouse is unoccupied, it would be a good idea to take it down and clean it with boiling water for the next bird that chooses it for shelter. Be sure to use gloves and a face mask.
Another way to attract birds is to provide them with materials they use to build their nests. It doesn’t have to be your birdhouse they come to your garden for. It can always be a tree they chose for a nest.
You can scatter around things like wool, pet hair and straw. Another good idea is to stuff these materials into crooks of trees, and if you can find an unobtrusive space where you can have a muddy patch in dry conditions, the birds will love you even more.
Minimise the Repellents
Without realizing, your garden might be unwillingly repelling the bird visitors. And, no matter how many bird feeders and water features you include, they might be scared to come near.
- Listen for unpleasant sounds. Birds have evolved to be able to hear sneaking predators, which is why their sense of hearing is very sharp. If there is loud noise coming out of your house and garden, they might not come.
- Do not use chemicals. Using any chemicals on your plants would not just repel the insects, but the birds as well. Sometimes the smell alone is enough.
- Remove tree decorations. Anything in bright colours and with a strange looking shape will tell birds to keep away. Just like a scarecrow is able to scare them away, these might too.
Birds can be a very pleasant addition to your garden. They will not only fill the environment with sweet songs, but also control the insect population around your house. Become one with nature and turn your garden into a paradise.