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How to create a bird friendly garden or balcony

Who said you need to drive for hours to the countryside to enjoy the perks of wildlife? Sometimes, living in the city doesn’t always give us the opportunity to enjoy big green spaces, especially if you live in an apartment block. But guess what? With the right plants and landscape features, even the smallest balcony or garden can be transformed into an enchanting, bird friendly oasis.

What are the benefits of attracting birds into the yard ?

Luring backyard birds can mean engaging in a lot of work. Bird feeders, birdhouses and bird baths are just a few of the items you should take care of if you decide to plan a bird friendly landscaping. However, doing so will offer various benefits in return. Your backyard birds play a crucial role in your local ecosystem and promotes well-being. Let’s see why:

Better quality of life

Once you’ve felt it, you can’t stay indifferent. Watching birds, listening to the sound of their voice and interacting with them can be a great stress relief. If you decide to adapt your backyard or balcony to the needs of these beautiful creatures, there is a high possibility that it will help you relieve stress and give you a feeling of serenity.

What’s more, spending time outdoors will ensure you never have a body that lacks vitamin D. Backyard birders, imagine how much you detoxify your body through the fresh air!

Flower Pollination

Various types of birds, such as hummingbirds and orioles have a pivotal role in the pollination of garden flowers. More blooms will attract more birds!

Control the amount of pests

The “diet” of many birds is made out of a variety of insects. Attracting birds to your yard means that you will easily get rid of mosquitoes, spiders and many other kinds of insects. Use the advantage of this natural food source, since eliminating insects would also mean eliminating the need for a lot of chemical insecticides.

They serve as “landscapers”

Birds like sparrows and towhees feed on a great amount of weed seeds. This means that they can help you control unwanted plants.

Bird conservation

We should all be aware that more and more of many birds’ habitats have become threatened due to the world’s vast development. When you provide an oasis for birds, you help to preserve their species and take your fair share in protecting the larger local environment.

A fun hobby

Birdwatching is a unique chance to learn more about local wildlife. It is a hobby enjoyed by many people all around the world. Inviting birds in your bird friendly yard might turn out to be a surprisingly positive experience and a great introduction to this hobby. Birds come in so many beautiful and colourful varieties and observing them can teach you a lot about their way of life.

Bird friendly balcony or garden - Two birds in a bird house
Photo by @Pixabay

How to turn your backyard or balcony into a bird friendly place?

If you think that attracting a wide variety of wild birds will be a big challenge, don’t worry – you are not alone. However, it is important to remember that their habitat consists of landscape features that provide water, shelter, food and not to forget, nesting locations. Follow these guidelines and you will find out that attracting birds can not only be very simple, but also twice as rewarding.

Step 1: Do your research

The first thing you need to do is plan your landscape relative to the local conditions. It would be easier for you to create a map that includes trees, bushes and landscape features. For those who live in an apartment, find out what kind of vegetation surrounds your building. Pay attention to the areas with full sun and full shade, as well as areas with partial sun and partial shade. Find out where to plant different kinds of plants, and learn how to build and nourish healthy garden soil.

Step 2: Find out which plants are best for your yard or apartment balcony

The easiest thing to do this is to look at natural areas nearby which have similar amount of light and moisture. This way you can see what types of plants are growing and what birds are around.

Tip 1: Plant a wide diversity of plants if you want to attract a wide diversity of wild birds.This will be easily achieved once your neighbours join your attempts or if there are natural areas in the area where you live. When you go out in a quest for the perfect plants, don’t forget to check their needs, what climate zone they should adapt to and how big they will grow.

Tip 2: The best time to start a bird-friendly garden is in the early spring. This is when plants are dormant, and the soil is still wet, so it allows them to get a good start before the usually hot summer.

Step 3: Opt for plants with berries, seeds, fruits or flowers

A lot of flowers turn into a winter food source for birds. You should consider leaving the seeds for your birds before you remove the dead heads from your flower. They will really appreciate it if you plant berry bushes that have fruit into the winter as well. There is a great variety of trees and bushes you can plant in your outdoor area.  

Tip: If your green area is limited, you can use climbing plants as a useful alternative. For example, a wall of ivy will provide an abundance of berries later in the year, when other natural food resources are reduced. Besides, it will give birds plenty of shelter for nests and roosting.

Bird friendly balcony or garden - bird house
Photo by Skitter Photo

Step 4: Add birdhouses or nesting boxes, as well as feeders

It is very important to dedicate some of your outdoor area to provide birds a place where they can eat and live undisturbed by cats, dogs, loud noise and people. Pay attention to the size of birdhouses and nesting boxes, choose them according to the size of the birds you hope to attract.

Tip 1: Most of the songbirds nest from mid-March until the end of July, which means that during this period, you shouldn’t cut trees and other vegetation.

Tip 2: Do a research on what plants and nesting sites the birds in your local area need. This way, you have a better chance of encouraging them to stay.

Step 5: Don’t forget to install a water feature

Water is one of the key factors in attracting birds to your bird friendly yard or balcony. Each and every bird species needs water, so adding a few water features to the outdoor area will rapidly attract feathered friends. They need water for drinking and preening. And the noisier it is the better since the sound of water in motion is like a magnet to most wild birds.

This is why you should definitely consider installing a birdbath outside. By putting a birdbath, there is a higher chance of attracting more birds than just food sources, since they would come from greater distances to have a cool drink or a bath.

Step 6: Reduce the use of pesticides

Try to avoid anything that hasn’t already officially been approved by your organic standards association. The worst thing that happens is that very frequently birds pick up pesticide granules thinking they are food or little stones.

Bird friendly balcony or garden - Bird picking up a pebble
Photo by DaPuglet

Are there more than one type of birdbaths?

Birdbaths are one of the easiest and fastest ways to attract wild birds. We could say that any water adds charm to a dry backyard, but a moving water will attract more birds. This is because birds react to the sound of dripping, splashes or sprinkles. Usually, birdbaths come in three basic designs:

  • Dish bird bath: Just any saucer or shallow bowl can be used as a birdbath. The good thing is that it is movable, so you can place it wherever you think it’s best. You can even get creative and decorate your own dish birdbath.
  • Pedestal bird bath: A true classic. These bird baths are three to four feet tall above the ground and they are made out of an elevated dish which is placed on a base which is usually in the shape of a post. They can be made out of various materials, so it is up to you to pick one according to your exterior style.
  • Heated bird bath: Take one step further, and you will never have to worry about the snow freezing your birdbath. A heated bird bath is considered an essential in colder areas. It’s convenient because even though it might take a great deal of energy to melt the snow, birds can drink the water throughout the whole year.
Bird friendly balcony or garden - bird bathing in a bird bath
Photo by Judit Klein

Hurry up and transform your outdoor area into a bird friendly place!

It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or an apartment away from the countryside, you can still attract birds to your landscape with a little bit of patience and careful planning. After all, your effort will pay off twice as much when you find out about the perks of having birds near your home. So, don’t waste any more time, and start planning your bird friendly garden or balcony today!

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