Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Invite Birds Home

Bird feeder

Bird Bath

Birdwatching is a very productive and pleasurable pastime. It requires that you set out on a field trip with your binoculars and field guide in pursuit of the winged fraternity. But another way to indulge in it is by bringing the birds nearer home. You can
attract birds by installing a birdfeeder, a birdbath or a
birdhouse in your garden or balcony.
Even if you do not reside in a green haven, there will be birds of many hues in you neighbourhood. There are bound to be bushes and hedges in the nearest park or trees on the roadsides. Peepul trees or mango, quite common around the Indian countryside attract birds by the legion. The berries of the peepul and the blossoms of mango are an invitation to them.

BIRD FEEDER is a very basic tray that can hold grains, seeds or food for the birds. It can be any shallow dish or a platform of any sort. While a few of the gardening stores or home decor shops may stock some exotic variety, it is a better idea to make one at home. You can be as innovative as you wish in making a rudimentary feeder.

  • Dig into your home-stores or throwaways to find a tray-like object.
  • A wooden fruit bowl or an earthenware dish will do fine, too. It can be placed in some niche or on a pedestal in the verandah.
  • Put up a wall bracket and fit on it your cheapest serving tray.
  • You can place a small water bowl separately on the tray for the birds to drink from.
  • BIRDBATH is a container for water, from which the birds can drink or have a dip as they desire. Birds love to splash and dunk about in a cool pool, especially in the afternoons. Of course, the birdbath becomes functional if you have a feeder in the first place to attract birds.
  • This can be a little largish bowl - not deep-bottomed, but not too shallow either. It can be made of ceramic, wood or metal. Terracotta bonsai tray is convenient and would go with your garden decor, too.

  • BIRDHOUSE, as the name suggests, is a small house. It is different from a feeder or bath in that it serves as a breeding nest for the birds. But it can double up as a feeder.
  • A typical birdhouse is like the house that a five-year old learns to draw - one with a sloping roof, a window or a door. It can have a small perch for the birds to sit on.
  • You can have a local carpenter build one for you with simple plywood. While you can check books or magazines for a design, you can easily design one yourself.
  • Only, see that the roof or the base of the birdhouse is removable so that it can be cleaned easily. Provide an inlet - a window large enough for the birds to go in and come out. Make the interiors cosy with a bed of cloth fibres, cotton, hay and feathers.
  • You can make a birdhouse from durable cardboard, too. Only see that you laminate it so that it does not get wet easily. The cardboard one can be in the traditional design of a hut or it can even be shaped like a carton. The carton can then be hung like a lantern.


    If you have a balcony or a small terrace with potted plants, place the feeder and bath around these. This will also help create an ecological habitat for the birds.
    For an empty birdhouse to become a bird home, all you have to do is put food. It's that simple.

    BIRD FEED There are no hard or fast rules here. Experiment with food. By trial and error you'll soon find the food pattern of different birds. Grains, seeds, cereals and worms, normally fetch in a few species.
  • Put grains like millet, bajri, rapeseed, oats or even breadcrumbs (not large pieces) on the feeder or in the birdhouse. Sparrows are partial to grains and cereals. Pigeons will flock for the bajri.
  • Do not keep leftovers like roti or rice, as that is sure to encourage the crows.
  • Ensure that your pots are not in the path of the wind or directly under the feeders. The flying husks or discarded seed coverings will lodge themselves there. You don't want tiny saplings sprouting from your pots.

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