Birds Of A Feather
Our gardens are the ultimate haven for local bird life. Whether it’s a tree they find a home in, or berries they feed on before going on their way, your garden design and contents can become a great support to these essential garden friends that increasingly struggle to find homes as city spaces expand. And there is no better way to draw birds to your garden, and to keep them there, than with a bird feeder. With so many benefits for your garden, for yourself, and for the birds themselves, it’s not hard to see why every garden needs at least one bird feeder.
Pests are the bane of every gardener’s existence. Aphids, slugs, caterpillars, and a range of other insects can wreak havoc on your plants – especially in the veggie garden. It is understandable to want to turn to pesticides to resolve the problem quickly, but there is a long-term solution that will improve the overall biodiversity of your garden. Birds are the perfect natural pest control measure, feeding on the range of insects we don’t want in our gardens. Larger birds can also remove unwanted rodents or snakes that make the garden dangerous for us gardeners. Install a few bird feeders around the garden for birds of every size to make the most of their pest-munching abilities.
Pollinator gardens are all the rage, with many gardeners looking to support butterflies and bees in their local area by planting pollinator-friendly plants, or dedicating entire sections of their garden to pollinator-attracting flowers. Bees and butterflies certainly get most of the attention, but many bird species are great pollinators too. And the more pollinators there are, the better your garden will look in the long run.
Very few gardeners enjoy the process of weeding. It’s tedious, frustrating, and bound to leave you with an afternoon of back pain. Luckily, when you have a garden full of birds, they do a lot of the work for you. Many birds, but especially small ones, love snacking on seeds that fall on the ground. Since they consume a massive amount of food for their size, birds can remove many of the weed seeds that would otherwise germinate, making the tedious task of weeding far easier. Unfortunately, that does come with one caveat – they can eat your freshly planted seeds too. Keep your planted seeds protected and leave self-seeding plants around as extra food for the birds in a different part of your garden.
In a report by BirdLife South Africa published in 2018, researchers found that local bird populations have declined sharply since the 1990s, with many more species joining the vulnerable list over the years. Some previously in the vulnerable category have now become endangered and may soon face extinction if conditions continue. This decline is largely due to the losses of habitats as more and more natural land is used for agriculture or urban development. While NGOs are working on the problem at a country-wide scale, each gardener can also do their part by providing a safe home for these endangered species. Specialised bird feeders help species that struggle to forage for food, especially in the colder months when natural food sources are scarce. Studies have also found that bird feeders help increase local bird populations by sustaining baby birds in the area. It may seem like a small task, but it can have a big impact on your local wildlife.
An abundance of birds in your backyard is not only good for your plants or for the birds – it can also help you. A study by the University of Exeter found that people with more birds and trees in their gardens or neighbourhoods were less likely to struggle with anxiety, depression and stress. Other studies have concluded that hobbies that involve interacting with nature, such as bird watching, can provide a range of mental health benefits, often used as a form of therapy. Just spending 10 minutes outside listening to the birds in your backyard will make these benefits clear. Birdfeeders build gardens teeming with wildlife that make the space a more calming and peaceful place to be overall.
New from Kirchhoffs!
Kirchhoffs has launched a new range of bird seed and feeders, available nationally. Wild Wings bird feeders provide protection against the elements and are designed for birds to dine safely (and in style). As for the meals they’ll be eating, well – they’re a feast. Wild Wings high-protein bird foods are made with all-natural ingredients, blended to provide the perfect composition of nutrients that birds need.
All Wild Wings feeders, baths and foods are proudly made in South Africa. It’s never been easier – or more rewarding! – to provide shelter and nourishment to our feathered friends. By caring for wild birds, you’ll help strengthen the ecosystem, beautify your garden, and encourage birdsong all year long.