Autumn – get your yard ready for your feathered friends

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Autumn is the most busiest time for you, if you want to make your garden or yard bird friendly. As this is the time for planting, cleaning and building.

While many birds have left for warmer areas, others came here from colder countries for the winter. Together with those staying here all year round, they are happy, if we make their lives a little easier.

Natural Food

The autumn garden can provide a natural larder of berries, fruit and insects that form the natural diet of many birds. With a big range of berry-bearing plants in the garden you will be treated to branches not just laden with ripening fruit, but teeming with acrobatic birds attracted to this rich food source.

Plants for birds

Autumn is a great time to get a variety of garden plants in the ground to support the birds. There’s a big range of trees and shrubs that will provide vital food and shelter throughout the colder months for the birds and look great too. Plant crab apples, rowans, cotoneasters, pyracantha and other fruiting plants for garden birds. Add mixed hedging plants as garden boundaries instead of man-made fencing and be sure to provide a constant supply of quality food and water.

Food

Birds are in their final throes of molting. While losing their feathers makes birds less active, growing them back is also a slow, energy-demanding procedure too. Molting can leave your garden birds feeling a little under par, so energy-rich food will give them a welcome boost and helping hand, providing them with the essential nutrients that they need.

Shelter

Birds often roost in trees and hedges to give them protection from predators, but they also use empty nest boxes and roosting pouches to insulate themselves from the cold and provide shelter from the rain. Make sure your garden has plenty of dense hedges, shrubs and trees where your feathered friends can stop over for the night well protected. Walls, trellis and even trees clothed in ivy and climbers give good leafy cover for some species like little owls, while other birds prefer to roost en masse in boxes to preserve their body warmth.

Some birds will share their body heat and shelter overnight in small flocks inside a roosting box. Wrens are known to pile in on top of each other to endure cold winter nights; 62 individual birds were counted as a record number in one site. Treecreepers have a similar roosting pattern, jamming themselves together in cracks and crevices in the trees to preserve their warmth. While nest boxes can and do provide shelter for many solitary birds, a dedicated roost box is better designed for the purpose and usually fitted with special perches and internal walls featuring places for birds to cling and hang in comfort.

With the nesting season over, autumn is the perfect time to clean out your bird boxes, repair any damage and get them ready for next year’s bird families. Even boxes that haven’t supported a brood need a check over to ensure they are in good condition. Open them up, clear out any debris carefully.

Get the box ready for early spring nests now. This allows time for a range of garden birds to inspect their prospective home and can use it for roosting in the winter. Mend any damage, seal up cracks and oil the hinges if they’re squeaking. Line the box with fresh, dry moss or dried, autumn leaves and put the boxes back up ready for spring.

After summer maintain the habit of giving garden birds a fresh, clean source of drinking and bathing water. Even as the weather cools, birds need to drink and bathe to stay hydrate and maintain their feathers.

Article Source: SABUKO