Attracting Wildlife and Involving Children
Each month, we will be giving you simple ideas of how to attract and help the wildlife in your garden or wild spaces. We hope that these ideas will get children involved, but of course are suitable for all ages. With spring officially here and birds in full song, we will be focusing this month of how we can help them as they begin breeding. These simple ideas can be done with things lying around in your sheds or homes.
Female Greenfinch enjoying sunflower hearts
You may notice that your feeder gets quitter this month as the birds are busy incubating, but it is still important to have food available. Put out food that won’t go off easily such as sunflower hearts and peanuts. If Finches are a common visitor, Nyjer seeds are great. As birds build their nests, provide some nesting materials in a fat ball feeder or container and fill with moss, feathers and scrap wool if you have. Please be careful not to put out long hairs as these can get stuck in birds’ beaks.
If you are gardening like me this month, you may notice a Robin following you. Birds will often watch over gardeners as they loosen soil, making it easier to get insects and worms that come to the surface. So just going out and digging a patch of soil will help birds to get food for young in the nest.
It is important to provide water on the warmer days. If you have a shallow watertight tray fill this with fresh water every day, or if you have small pond that would be even better.
Wildlife Watch have some brilliant resource sheets for simple activities to do with children and involve them in bird watching. Print off a bird identification sheet and make a wildlife hide to see who visits the feeder.
Find two good trees or make a tripod using three poles and lash them together with string.
Attach a blanket or tarpaulin sheet, leaving space or a window to be able to see out
Put chairs or cushion inside your hide for comfort
Gather your binoculars, sheets and pens and wait patiently to see what birds come down
Sunrise Loch Garten (Sally Nowell)
If you can only watch wildlife from inside, you can tune into Speyside Wildlife’s daily bird song live Facebook videos where a different guide takes you round their local patch. We’d love to see some of yours too. Wildlife presenter Chris Packham does a daily live video feed from his home at 9am and The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) are also giving you free membership and encouraging people to record garden birds.
If you try out any of these ideas or would like to show us what you have done in your garden to attract wildlife, please send in your photos or tag Speyside Wildlife on Facebook.