Garden Wild: Step 1 – Birds
I have always been intrigued at the ability of wildlife to adapt to urban areas and “fit in” around people and development. Now I have the chance to observe this first hand, up close! We recently moved into a new place and we now have our own (tiny) garden. The challenge now is to see how much wildlife we can attract to our little green (mostly brown at the moment!) space.
Step 1 – Attract birds! Ok, for selfish and some what lazy reasons we have made our garden pretty darn attractive to the local bird populations! We started with the construction of a bird nest box using recycled material found near by (wood, string, bike tube etc). We obtained plans from the RSPB website and the results were surprisingly good!
To our amazement the NEXT day we had birds visiting to check it out. A pair of great tits (musvit) began inspecting the box very carefully. Firstly they sat outside on the small perch, looking in and pecking at the box. We were baffled by this and found out later that this is common behaviour for birds seeking new homes. They eventually began going inside the box, but there was no sign of any nest building activity.
The building bug really bit Rasmus and he decided to build a bird feeding table of his own design. He collected more recyclable material and construted this attractive little table. We put some mixed seeds on the table and immediately the birds came to fatten up!
Birds construct their nests with a variety of materials depending on the species and the habitat, and what’s available near by! I was shocked to find tits nests lined with bright pink and green fibres from tennis balls in a popular dog walking area in Somerset in England! Rasmus decided to give the birds a helping hand and left a small bundle of pale coloured hemp fibres in the garden. The birds are speedy learners and were soon pulling at the hemp and carrying it off!
After leaving the birds in peace with the garden to themselves for Easter we returned to some really exciting news! Before unpacking anything I popped out to the garden to have a little peak in the box. Low and behold the beginnings of a nest! I was filled with a mixture of pride, excitement and worry all at the same time. Suddenly we had gone from inviting nature to visit our garden to potentially having resident nature! What if we disturbed them too much? What if the neighbouring cats got a little too close? So many questions! Over the next few days we have been watching them carry twigs, moss and other materials into the box – very exciting!
As a very thoughtful house warming gift we received two bird feeders – to attract more birds! They were an instant hit with the tits!