It is wonderful to attract native wildlife to your garden and to feel that you are helping the creatures which visit. But your garden can present many hazards to wild birds. It is vital that you create a safe haven for our feathered friends so that you can enjoy watching them without the risk of the birds being injured or contracting a disease.
So what do you need to do to make your garden safer for the birds?
Feeders and Bird Baths
Feeders and sources of water will ensure that many species visit your garden. However, these features also increases the risk of diseases spreading. Gardens with feeders result in dense populations of birds, if only from time to time, and so disease can quickly spread. It is essential that uneaten food is not left to rot in your feeders and that the feeders are thoroughly cleaned regularly. Bird baths should also be cleaned as often as you can manage and the water emptied and replaced with a fresh supply every day.
Barrels and Water Butts
Wild birds will be attracted to the water in your butts and barrels but the water is too deep for them. With nowhere to place their feet down they easily become trapped and then drown. It is best to keep butts covered but if this is not possible then create a slipway with a piece of wood so that small birds can safely approach the water to drink.
Netting and Wild Birds
Many ponds are covered in netting but this is a serious hazard to wild birds as they can quickly become tangled up in it. It is far safer to cover your ponds with a metal grid but if you can’t afford to do this then pull your netting as tightly as possible across the pond. The less tension there is in the net, the less likely the birds are to get caught up in it. The netting around suet fat balls also presents a danger and should be removed before offering the balls to the wildlife.
Wild birds will build their nests in your trees, hedges and shrubs. These are not always obvious and so are easy to disrupt or damage when you are pruning. It is best to prune in the autumn after the birds have finished with their nests but if you prune any greenery in spring then check it carefully before you start cutting.
Wild birds often fly into windows because they simply cannot see that they are solid surfaces. The more birds that you attract to your garden, the more likely you are to experience a bird strike. You can make your property safer for the birds by ensuring that the windows are as visible as possible or have visible obstructions in front of them. Single rooms which run the width of the house and which have windows at both ends create a visible path to greenery and so at least one set of curtains should remain closed.
With a little care your garden will become much safer for the wild birds and you can then relax and enjoy your fascinating and beautiful visitors.