Spring is the start of the breeding season for most common garden birds. They pair up with their mates, build nests, lay eggs, and raise their young. Here are 5 things you can do to help if you happen to find residents in your garden nest box.
- Hold off trimming hedges and shrubs. Lots of species use small hedges and shrubs for nesting. If you see a bird building a nest you’ve got a great excuse to avoid this garden job work for the next month or so!
- Put out pieces of dry plant material, such as grass stems, twigs, and soft leaves. For birds that build woven nests – robins for example - a few grass leaves can come in mighty handy during the big build. Offer the pieces on any flat surface, a bird table could be a good place. Keep the pieces short so they don’t get tangled and are able to pull them through the hole in the next box.
- If you have a pet, offer short clumps of fur. Most bird nests have some sort of animal hair in them. It’s soft, insulating, and easy to gather. When you groom your pet, save the fur to spread around your garden for the birds to use. Again, make sure its kept short to avoid tangling.
- Continue to feed your birds. Energy-packed foods such a mealworms and peanuts will lure birds (and their young) to your feeders. These young birds will learn at an early age where your feeders are.
- Provide clean, fresh water for bathing and drinking. Your bird bath might just be the first place in your garden a parent bird will take its young. Make sure the water is not too deep. Birds appreciate shallow water.