Garden Bird Houses - Some Tips to Attract the Birds and Keep Them Safe

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There are many ways to attract wild birds to your garden and hopefully to set up home in your garden bird house. Providing food and a safe place to eat is one of the easiest and most effective ways. This is particularly important during the winter months when there may be lack of their natural food.
Set up feeding stations designed for the different species you would like to see in your garden.

For finches place specially designed thistle feeders that hold the small thistle feeds that they love. Other speciality bird feeders include hummingbird feeders to hold nectar, woodpecker feeders and jay feeders. Tube feeders are designed to prevent seeds spilling on the ground and keep the seeds dry. You could also set up a window feeder to see the birds from the comfort of your room.

Always check the food regularly to make sure it is dry and free from mold and clean up around the feeder to deter wasps, ants and other predators. If squirrels are a problem in your garden be sure to purchase a squirrel proof bird feeder.

Provide Fresh Water for the Birds

Wild birds need a source of fresh water for both drinking and bathing. You could provide this with water pans or bird baths. Place water containers at various levels as some birds prefer ground level, others will be attracted to water placed at a higher level. Place any water sources away from bird feeders as birds prefer a quiet place for bathing and preening. Attract the birds to your water source with a water dripper placed in the bird bath or a mister in the trees. The gentle sounds of running water will attract the birds and many birds enjoy a bath below the dripper or in a mister as it simulates raindrops on their feathers.

During the winter months a heated bird bath or one fitted with a de-icer will ensure the water is always at the right temperature and available for the birds.

Provide a Natural Environment

Let a part of your garden grow wild and scatter wild flower seeds through the area to provide a natural environment for the birds. hang bird feeders from trees or posts in this area. This will enhance the sense of security for the birds.

Your bird house must be a safe place for birds to nest and bring up their young. Here are some tips for making your bird house proof from squirrels, yellow jackets, snakes, cats, wasps, ants and other invasive birds.

Perches

There is no need to have any perches in your bird house. The nesting birds do not need them and they only provide a means for predators to gain entrance. many bird houses come with a perch under the entrance hole. Remove it!

Baffles

A bird house mounted on a pole can have baffles fitted to prevent predators from climbing the pole and gaining entrance to the bird house. A metal baffle is preferable as it cannot be chewed. A bird house mounted on a tree can also have baffles attached to the tree trunk.

Metal plates

A metal plate fitted with a small entrance hole can be placed over the original hole on the bird house. This will prevent predators from enlarging the hole to gain entrance.

Entrance Hole

use a bird house with a small entrance hole that is just large enough for the species of bird you wish to attract. A larger hole will allow invading birds to gain entrance and eject the baby birds inside.

Ants Nests

Regularly check around the bird house (and bird feeders if you have them) for ants nests. Deal with them quickly using a method that is not harmful to wild birds.

Metal Poles

For bird houses mounted on metal poles slip a large PVC pipe over the pole before mounting the bird house. This will deter squirrels, snakes and raccoons from climbing up to the bird house. You could also smear vegetable oil on the pipe.

Cats

Fit your cat with a collar with a bell to prevent her sneaking up on the birds.

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