Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Do one thing for birds this summer

Each month I receive a newsletter from BBC Breathing Places and this month my attention was drawn to an article about helping birds find water during the hot summer months (if we are lucky enough to have a hot summer).

Birds tend to eat dry meals (like seeds) so desperately need water to wash their food down. Most small birds need to drink at least twice a day as well as using water to bathe and preen to keep feathers in good condition.

Why not provide a safe place in your garden (if you have one) for birds to have a drink and a bath? You can make one yourself using a water tight shallow container, if you put pebbles in the bottom it will stop the birds from slipping and help to vary the depth of the water a bit. For safety maybe add a little ramp to help the birds get in and out.

You can also buy a bird bath to put on the ground or hang off the wall, birds will be wary of bright colours so if you do this then choose natural colours. If you buy a bird bath to stand on the ground then it is best to make sure it is up high on a pedestal to ensure birds keep safe from prowling cats (Rusty included, she is obsessed with birds). A hanging bird bath would be even better.

When you put your bird bath outside make sure it is in a shady place, close to the trees, to stop the sun evaporating the water quickly and also make sure the bird can have a 360 degree view whilst on the bath to check for predators. A tip for deterring cats is to plant some prickly shrubs near the bath as that would make an uncomfortable place for cats to lie in wait. Remember to keep the bath topped up with clean, fresh water and if you can give it a clean every few weeks with boiling water.

In the winter time it is an idea to put something like a small ball in the bath to stop the water icing over.

If you don't have a garden but have a balcony instead you can buy a hanging bird bath and use a bracket to secure it. If you don't have the funds a seed tray, or a plant pot saucer will work too. Remember to add a ramp to help the birds get in and out.

Picture and information taken from BBC Breathing Places
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