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Caring for Garden Song Birds

The shorter day length coupled with northerly winds and chilling temperatures make life a little more difficult for our native garden song birds. Paraic Horkan
Winter and spring are critical periods for Irish Garden Birds and we can help by providing nutrient rich, high protein and fat containing wild bird food during this high risk period.

Paraic selects the Petface Black Sunflower Seed as it is packed with high protein and is an attractive to a wide range of garden song birds, including goldfinches. If you have space for only one feeding unit try the Gardman triple feeder as it allows you to add up to three different types of wild bird food to attract the greatest range of garden song birds to your garden.

Nesting boxes:
Winter is the perfect time to clean out existing nesting boxes or to erect some new boxes before the breeding season. Paraic uses the Petface nesting box as it is simple to erect and perfect for all small garden song birds. Many of our common garden birds would naturally nest in cavities in dead trees, but that sort of nest site is, understandably, not very common in gardens. A well designed nest box can be a big improvement on a natural site and now is a great time to add some to your garden!  As well as helping the birds now, it can be very absorbing to watch the birds carry nesting material in.

nesting boxes photo

Nesting Box

Then after some time after laying their eggs, they start to make ever more frequent feeding trips until the young birds finally leave the nest later in the year. Some species may have two or more broods of youngsters over the spring and summer. The box will then go on to earn it’s keep in autumn and winter as the birds will often use nest boxes as a safe roosting site.

Modern nesting boxes can include a digital camera. Gardman camera nesting box is one and is fairly straightforward to set up. Simply find a spot that is protected from driving wind, rain and the heat of the afternoon sun. Paraic recommends facing your nesting box north, through east to south east, unless your garden is well sheltered by a large hedge.  Most birds prefer a clear flight path to the entrance and a position that is free from disturbance. You should sit the box at least 2-5 metres above ground that will lift the nesting birds above most human activity. Robins and Wrens prefer open fronted nest boxes in well-hidden locations such as behind a thorny climber. It is best to avoid locations such as on top of a fence that would make easy for cats and squirrels. Then it’s just a case of watching to see who moves in!

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