by Ankita Priyadarshini
Here's the first of the #greengarden series from our new #Gardening Columnist Ankita Priyadarshini, who'll be writing about #ecogardening DIY methods that anyone with a yard or balcony can implement to grow a #sustainable #eco-system of their own.
Over to Ankita:
Come summer, most of us take out water bowls for #birds in our #gardens or balconies. Some of us continue this practice year long. We keep feeders or simply grains in a bowl. However, birds still might not visit us, and that baffles us, doesn’t it? What more could they want, other than food and water?
For a space (garden/balcony) to be attractive to birds, it needs as many as possible of the following – food, water, shelter, opportunities for nests and protection from elements and predators.
Birds don’t have to spend too much energy looking for food if there are enough plants around with abundant and accessible seeds. The plants as well as the birds that visit them, add interest to the balcony or garden.
Provide natural and man-made places for nesting. Dense bushes and shady trees are not only good for providing nesting spots to birds, but also interesting additions to your garden visually.
If you do not have a large garden, in a balcony you can hang wooden nesting boxes for them to find shelter in. Wooden nesting boxes in eye catching colours and designs look very pretty hanging or installed on trees and walls in your garden or balcony.
Water is a necessity not only to quench thirst, but also for birds to bathe in. If you have enough space, create birdbaths separate from water bowls. Line your birdbath generously with pebbles to provide stepping stones and resting places for the birds.
Birdbaths serve a dual purpose – honeybees also visit and need pools of water to drink and to regulate temperatures within the colony on hot summer days. They can easily drown, and the pebbles help them to climb out if needed.
SHELTER FROM PREDATORS:
Birds need to feel safe before they visit your garden. They need somewhere to retreat to quickly if they spot cats or hawks. Put your feeding bowls next to some cover, such as a tree, hedge or climber-covered fence where they can hide if needed. Not much deters hawks, but a dense hedge or nooks in a wall is the best you can do. Prickly shrubs beneath a bird feeder can help to deter cats.
Keep your feeding bowls and water baths and bowls clean. Clean them regularly to avoid accumulation of bacteria and fungal spores that could cause fatal illnesses in visiting birds and also contaminate your surroundings.
It is not too difficult to get birds to visit you. And it isn’t a one way trade; they pollinate your garden in return, and add a lot of visual and audible interest to your garden :).
Do you have tips about building a bird-friendly garden or balcony? Leave a comment below to share.
About Ankita Priyadarshini: "An MBA by training, an artist by true calling, and a writer by choice - is how I see myself. Harassed as only a first-time mother of an infant can be, I can be found playing with him, wrestling him for feeds or sketching or gardening or writing in every free minute to keep my sanity. Art and gardening are my two passions and they are deeply interrelated, for my garden is the biggest source of inspiration for my art. I try my best to live a holistic and eco conscious life; and I am very honored to be a part of this tribe of health, wellness and ecology warriors."
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