Whilst you are thinking about Mother’s Day as well as putting up your nestboxes around the garden, it is a great time to consider what Bird Mums might need over the coming months. Here are a 7 great ideas on how you can help them.
Mother’s day is just around the corner, as a nation we are getting gifts and sorting out how to spoil these wonderful women in our lives. In nature, we’ve had a cold snap but the 1st of March did officially indicate the arrival of Spring.
Spring is the best time of the year for birds (in my opinion). They are creating louder music, darting around the gardens and starting to pair up. They will shortly begin making their nests and they too are thinking about becoming parents.
Over the next few months it will be a busy pace of life for our garden crowd, they will have many mouths to feed and some birds will have 2–3 goes at being parents. Can you imagine! They don’t need beautiful decorations, chocolates or gifts but they can be helped with a few of these tips.
1. Nesting Material
Nesting material is a great way to support birds, they all have different ideas about what is great (longtailed tits for instance build elaborate feather based nests.)but adding things like animal fur, human hair and even wool is perfect.
You can use a suet cake feeder and stuff it full of your material, they love man-made stuff like snipped up bits of jute too.
We get alpaca wool from a local farm and use that, the birds love it. Try and put it somewhere high-up like on a washing line where they will find it.
2. Fresh Water
Having a bird bath in the garden is a great thing to do during the spring and summer months for both parents and baby birds. It is a good idea to have bird baths all the time for bathing and drinking but particularly with new fledges around it is important. Lots of parent and fledgling bird bathing takes place at summer birdbaths, and young birds can be dependent upon the only water source they know. So keep your bath filled and clean. Make sure the average water depth is less than three inches. Birds appreciate shallow water.
Nestboxes are a great way to support parent birds and new mums (who sit in them most of the time!). You can put them up anytime until the end of March and again in September. This will help birds to find places to start their family. A well-placed nest box can mean the difference between nesting success and failure for your garden birds. There has been a decline in the natural environment for birds, so it is important that we support them with some man-made structures. There are some fantastic nestboxes on the market to choose from.
4. No Pruning
Prune just before the end of March and then hold back on trimming hedges. Lots of species use small hedges and shrubs for nesting. If you see a bird building a nest in such a place on your property try not to disturb it and keep the bush a little more natural until the end of the fledgling season.
5. The Right Food
Food is really important for both parents and their growing fledglings. Don’t stop feeding your birds, unless you want to miss out on some fabulous behavior watching. Energy packed foods are must, choose foods that have suet, carbs and are high in protein.
Avoid putting lose nuts out between March-July instead use a nut feeder to avoid choking small birds. You could choose a mix that is just right for fledglings and their parents like our Nest & Fledge mix which is small sized and comes with added Blue Maw keeping them calmer in the nest.
6. Eggs Shells
Might seem a little crazy but eggshells are packed with calcium and can be a great source of nutrients for new mums. Eggshells help female birds replace calcium lost during egg production and laying. Save your eggshells, dry them out in the oven (10–30 minutes at 250 degrees), crumble them into small pieces, and spread the pieces on an open spot on the ground.
7. Keep Cats Away
Cats take an incredible toll on songbirds, but low-nesting species and their young are especially vulnerable to cat predation. Do the birds a favor and keep this unnatural predator away from places where birds nest.