There is nothing like watching birds flocking to your garden to feed or drink the water you provide for them. Over time, you can build quite a following among neighbourhood birds.
Here, we explore the options available to you if you want to welcome the birds to your garden.
How big should you make it?
You might know the saying ‘build it and they will come’. Birds certainly will if you construct a bird feeding station for them to use. But you should think about the size of it before you get started.
It is recommended that you move your bird feeders periodically. If you don’t, the area around them can become very messy. That’s not good visually, nor for hygiene purposes. So, make sure your bird feeding station is easy to move, while staying solidly in place when in position.
The good news is most bird feeding stations take up a very small footprint. However, they can still provide ample room for several birds to enjoy a feast simultaneously.
When thinking about size, it can be tempting to build something large and impressive. But if you’ve never fed birds before, it is often best to start small. The bigger it gets, the bigger the following, the more supplies you will need to buy to keep it topped up, and the harder it can be to maintain it. Start small and go from there. This also allows you to see which birds are visiting, and which ones you might be able to tempt in other ways.
Where should you position it?
We’ve seen how important positioning is, but you’ll want to put your bird feeder somewhere reasonably close to your house. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you won’t want to walk far to refill the feeders. Once news gets around that you’re putting food out, you’ll be refilling more often than you think. Secondly, it means you can watch the birds from your window. Pick a spot where the bird feeder can either stand on the floor, or be pushed into the ground, if it is spiked on the bottom. This might mean picking a grassy spot, or a flowerbed, rather than sitting it on the patio. Wherever you place it, make sure it is stable.
One feeder or many?
You can create a bird feeding station by using many smaller feeders in one area. For example, you could hang a couple of brackets from a fence and put a seed feeder on each of those. Conversely, you could try a seed feeder on one and a fat ball feeder on the other.
It is also worth thinking about building or buying a feeder that uses a sheltered platform for the birds to use while eating the seed. These are available reasonably cheaply, but you could also make your own from scraps of wood. There are lots of plans online that are easy to follow. Just be sure you don’t stain the wood with anything that is harmful to birds or other animals.
A covered seed feeder or bird table is a good idea because wet seed can rot and cause problems for you and the birds. Think about how you can keep the area clean and remember to make your bird feeding station as easy to move as possible from time to time.
Consider providing food at different levels
Did you know different birds prefer to feed at different levels? Some like to find seeds and other items close to or at ground level, while others will fly over to hanging feeders. Still more like to look in trees to find food. Try and provide options for all birds. If you do, you will receive far more visits from many more species.
There are some feeders that have platforms at various points from near the ground upwards, before getting to the hanging feeders at the top. Consider these if you want to try and introduce more birds. You might also hang half coconuts filled with suet and other bird-friendly food for them to feed on.
Other bird houses can be hung from tree branches. You can purchase tree hooks for these, so as not to damage the tree itself. They will also be rot resistant, so there is no danger of the feeder falling while the birds are on it.
Finally, if there are squirrels nearby, there is a chance they might try and steal the food you have left out for the birds. You can get collars for your bird feeders to prevent the squirrels from accessing them from above. These are known as cones or guards, too, so be sure to invest in some if you get any issues and you want your feeders to be ready for birds only.