Life! The first days of Spring are truly magical. New blossoms bloom, the smell of the first rains and of course the chirps, songs & calls of the returning migratory birds… the air is awash with Life and all our senses soak it up.
Encouraged by the warmer weather we begin to venture out. Trees that were once bare are revealing new shoots, seedlings peak through the soil – it brings us hope and the fragrance of amazing possibilities fills us.
The Biodiversity Challenge
Biodiversity is not simply a term for the bushveld. It applies in suburbia too. By mimicking biodiversity protocols within your garden you can almost guarantee an influx of bird species, some of which are magnificent to see, fun to identify but most notably magical on the ear. Bird calls are the essence of spring, and without this sound the onset of summer can be a little dull.
Nurture your garden and welcome all the sights, sounds, vibrancy and texture of the Spring Season… Growing a garden can be an incredible learning experience with rewards that continue to give… you know you have been successful when the birds start arriving.
Step 1 – invasive species
By removing invasive species or perhaps undertaking to create a natural/endemic flower garden you will go a long way in creating the perfect bird habitat within your home. By starting a new garden, you also can control the distribution of the birdlife within your premises.
Some natural species will be listed in the following paragraphs.
Step 2 – soil
We focus so much on the final result that we pay very little attention to the soil. Food life for flowers sure, but the insect world that thrives within the soil serves as an essential food source. Start your own compost heap or buy topsoil from the nearest nursery and see the difference it makes to the biodiversity challenge.
Step 3 – Cater for the birds you want
With a healthy ecosystem you will naturally attract birds of all kinds, but it never hurts to supplement your garden to attract the birdlife you wish to enjoy.
Birds can be broken into distinct groups that make it easier to attract your favourites.
Seed eating birds
Finches & waxbills are great examples of seed eating birds. Apart from throwing seed the best way to naturally attract such birds is to allow grass to grow long enough to seed before cutting. These birds mostly feed off the floor and the lawn is the perfect place to spot them.
Nectar eating birds
Who wouldn’t want a sunbird in their garden? These beautiful birds are the most recognized nectar feeders in South Africa. Plant some aloes, protea’s or honeysuckle to attract these species. They will need open spaces to feed properly so don’t bush in these species of plant to allow full access.
Fruit eating birds
Some examples of fruit eating birds include barbets, turacos, bulbuls & mousebirds. An easy option is to create a bird feeder to hang from a tree. If you want to maintain a natural attraction make sure to incorporate milkwook, sourplum and stinkwood into your garden plans.
Kingfishers… need we say more? Water birds do need water, but the water need not be as big as you may think. Even small ponds or bigger bird feeders will be sufficient to pique the interest of the kingfisher family. Of course for more robust water birds you will need to plan a full water feature large enough to accommodate them and their food.
Birds of prey
Most people shy away from introducing food sources for predatory birds but there is another way of attracting birds of prey. Introducing owl boxes or preparing nesting sites will encourage birds of prey to use your garden as home base.
With these simple tips your garden will become a source of colour, joyful sound and vibrance. You owe it to yourself to satisfy all your senses.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” – Audrey Hepburn