Birds — along with hedgehogs, frogs and toads — are traditionally considered useful creatures by gardeners. Besides, the birds enliven and give voice to the garden. In addition, simple attributes of bird life (houses, feeders, drinkers, baths) can serve as a wonderful decoration.
Opinions on whether to feed birds during the warmer time of the year apart. From a purely biological point of view, feeding is not necessary. But the fun romp of birds is so entertaining that many gardeners replenish bird “catering” throughout the year.
Structurally, bird feeders are suspended and on supports, portable and stationary.
Important requirement for the feeder: food should not get wet in the rain and snow. Therefore, a mandatory element of a proper feeder is the roof, which can be flat, single-pitched, gable, hip or hipped. And the design of the feeder should be such that the birds do not sit on the feed and do not get dirty around.
In addition to bread crumbs, you can pour millet, oats, wheat, corn, pumpkin and sunflower seeds into the feeder.
For blue Tits, you can hang a piece of fat on a string. If the birds noticed your feeder and liked the food, they will come to this dining room regularly.
Some gardeners allow feathered assistants to populate their gardens on their own, but other owners (fans of organic farming) when arranging plots take into account in advance which plantings and plants particularly attract birds, where to hang bird houses. After all, in addition to food, birds need nesting places.
Housing construction for birds is not easy. The birds themselves do not attach any importance to the design of their homes.the most important thing for them is the design features of their nests. Different types of birds have their own requirements for the size of the house, the diameter of the hole and the quality of interior decoration.
On the other hand, for many gardeners, it is important that the houses are not boring, similar to urban panel buildings. In practice, it is sometimes difficult to combine these goals.
So it turns out that in bird construction there are three types of houses: decorative, which do not provide for the residence of birds in them at all; “working”, which are made taking into account the requirements of a specific type of bird. And the third type of dwellings are those that combine decorativeness with bird standards.
Decorative bird houses are used in the garden only as elements of garden design. And here there can be a great variety of original solutions: Gothic towers, knight’s castles, bungalows with thatched roofs, huts, hotels with glass Windows and metal roofs, etc.
For example, three-, five -, and even seven-bed apartment buildings are very popular in the United States. Individual bird “apartments” designers connect to each other in a circle or put on top of each other. In Europe, some owners of large plots erect decorative dovecotes.
Small architectural forms on the theme of bird dwellings are most often the author’s works of artists. Made to order, they are more expensive than those that the authors usually sell in garden centers and nursery stores. An interesting fact: some owners of plots immediately after purchase hammer tow or cotton wool into the holes of decorative birdhouses, so that the birds do not spoil the appearance of such an expensive decor.
It is a completely different matter when gardeners really want to attract birds to the garden with the help of traditional birdhouses. Here is the other extreme: the owners do not think about decorating at all, they try to observe exclusively the interests of birds. By the way, such “working” birdhouses can be purchased in garden centers, pet stores, or made by yourself.
Enterprising manufacturers have a long tradition of building their own birdhouses. Increasingly, on the shelves of garden centers, you can find semi-finished products: already sawn walls and roofs that need to be put together according to the proposed scheme. Moreover, such sets are in even greater demand than the already assembled birdhouses.
Building according to the rules: requirements for bird houses
When making bird houses, certain requirements must be met. The boards inside the house should not be planed to make it convenient for the bird to fly in and get out, because it is not easy to cling to a smooth surface with claws. But the narrow gaps between the boards will not spoil the birdhouse: air will pass through them.
At the bottom of the house, you can make two drainage holes with a diameter of 6 mm. The roof should have a slope towards the shorter front wall of the birdhouse. Overhangs over the side walls should preferably be 10 mm long, over the front wall – 20-40 mm. If there are woodpeckers on the site, then you need to put a tin plate on the nesting box so that the birds do not gouge too large a hole with their powerful beak.
A standard birdhouse differs from simple the tree house in the size of a let – 27 mm. A hole with a diameter of 32-34 mm suitable for the great tit, birds and other larger species. Redstart and nuthatches need a 45-mm-high and 30-mm-wide fly, not round, but oval in shape.
To attach a birdhouse on a tree to the outside of the back wall, you need to nail a bar. The outside of the house can be painted, but it is advisable to use calm colors so as not to attract the attention of predators, especially crows. Again, for security reasons, it is better not to make a perch at the entrance.
If you are going to clean the birdhouse, then you need to choose a design with a removable roof. But because of the unclear situation with avian flu, it is advisable to throw out old birdhouses and replace them with new ones.
Birds are not picky about the shape of the house, but still they like the cylindrical birdhouse most of all, which resembles a tree trunk hollowed out inside.
Although the birds will not pass by the house in the form of a hut.
The third option of bird houses is a combination of decorative and utilitarian purposes. Here the path is simple: a decorated standard nesting sites. Gardeners draw Windows and doors on the walls of such birdhouses, attach reeds, branches, and straw to the usual roof.
For small birds, nests are made from coconut nuts, ceramic candlesticks, willow twigs, coconut cloth, ropes, and bast. But there is another way to make standard bird shelters more attractive. To do this, you need to hang a lot of standard houses, painted in the same color, on trees or walls.
A pictorial composition of such objects can also be very expressive. And although starlings, perhaps, will not settle in such a tight space, but other less fastidious birds will settle in the houses.
Drinkers and baths
another important attribute of bird life is water. In the gardens, these are not only ponds, streams and mini-reservoirs, but also special drinking troughs and baths for birds.
Garden centers offer a large selection of low, wide containers made of ceramic, stone, concrete, metal and plastic.
The most solid drinkers are made of concrete, hewn or natural stone. The main conditions are the presence of a bowl – shaped depression in the middle and low sides. The depth of the drinker should not exceed 4-5 cm, the bath – 8 cm. And the bowls should be easily washed from dirt, because they must be periodically filled with fresh water, cleaned of bird droppings, otherwise the infection from a sick bird can spread to other birds.
Pools and drinkers should preferably be placed on stands about a meter high, then the birds will not become easy prey for cats. Bowls without pedestals should be placed in an open place – so the birds will notice the danger from any side in a timely manner. Yes, and you will be comfortable from afar to enjoy the games of birds by the water. And of course, it is not necessary to place baths where children often play.
If there is a large pond on the site, but the garden is often visited by cats, then you can build a floating island for the birds. To make it, you will need water-resistant plywood (or boards), wooden bars, ropes (or cable) and a plastic balloon that must be attached under the island. The shape of the raft can be round, oval, or arbitrary. On the island it is necessary to lay the soil and plant plants. To prevent the soil from crumbling into the water, it is advisable to make sides along the edges of the island.to hold the island in place, you should tie two ropes with loads to the raft.
A simple decorative element on the water will not only decorate the surface of the reservoir, but also for several years will serve as a place for birds to rest safely in your garden.