Sponsored by Pierrick le Bio Jardinier
I first had the idea of landscaping a small (500 square meters) garden for the birds near my house about ten years ago. I first removed the vegetable garden. Then, I planted trees, shrubs and bushes. It took a while until everything was grown and in good shape. Even today, some areas still look like a little rainforest, but it helps the birds feel home!
I even built a small decorative pond. Goldfish and koi carps live there in perfect harmony with the birds, who drink from it year-round. Water flows through an amphora, which prevents it from freezing in the winter. That way, birds can drink any season. It is indeed critical that birds get access to drinking water on a regular basis.
The pond in the winter...
...Then in the spring
In order to become a good "bird gardener", one must first be aware of the needs of the birds that could settle in the garden for feeding or nesting.
Feeding them seeds in the winter is not enough to entice birds into a backyard. Such an achievement requires a year-round commitment to provide them with season-appropriate food. One also needs to make sure that the environment is suitable for nesting or shelter.
Male European Greenfinch
Better than hanging feeders and providing food, the best way to attract birds to your yard is to make it resemble a natural habitat. Birds typically get everything they need from Mother Nature, and it's often to make up for the insufficiency they themselves caused by deforesting their environment that humans have to put up bird feeders and houses.
My backyard covered in snow
Male European Greenfinch
Blue Tit and Great Tit
Trees represent a protection against weather as well as predators. A number of species build their nests directly in the trees; others find there the materials they need to build their nest on the ground. Trees also make for a fantastic pantry. They offer not only fruit, but also all sorts of insects in various stages of development. A single tree can therefore attract several species of birds.
Watching birds around a feeder is an unforgettable and fulfilling experience.
The best way to attract birds to a garden is to provide them with a year-round variety of plants and trees for food and shelter. The closer your yard resembles a natural habitat, the more secure and at home wild birds become.
The garden and a seed dispenser
Many people enjoy watching birds in their yard. Putting up a bird feeder is the simplest way to observe birds. There is no need to travel the world and chase rare and unusual species to see wild animals. One can experience the pleasure of the wild by simply looking at tits eating seeds from a birds feeder.
Over the last 50 years, urban growth and intensive agriculture both resulted in shrinking the wild natural spaces. Gardens therefore represent actual miniature wildlife reservations, especially for birds.
Birds settle in gardens because their habits are changing and because they take advantage of the new resources available. These european greenfinch, for instance, are becoming more and more addicted to the sunflower seeds we provide, and we can see them appear in the garden a little earlier each year. From a shelter used only during the most difficult times of the year, the garden has evolved progressively into a place of settlement for the birds.
As soon as the weather gets better, around springtime, most birds will leave the gardens and get back to their natural environment.
If a bird chooses to stay in the garden and nest there at the end of the winter, it means he found there everything he needed to successfully breed. Blue Tits and Big Tits, for example, have chosen to settle in the bird houses I built for them.
In a bird's perspective, the best garden is the one that doesn't look landscaped and that is full of plants and trees. As far as I'm concerned, I try to make sure my garden is nice, functional and adapted to the taste of my flying friends.
Owl covered in helxine
Young common blackbirds
Amongst the various birds that came looking for food during the winter season, one newcomer, the coal tit, was even less shy than the others. It is the smallest of our tits. Similar to the big tit, it has black and white cheeks, a black pinch and a very distinctive white stripe on the back of the neck. The back is grey, and it has white stripes on the wings. Beautiful! Coal tits typically live in woodland, especially conifer woods.
Coal Tit and Blue Tit
Yet another newcomer: the Brambling.
Watch out, you might get burned!
Petit mars changeant (fr)
Average temperatures in France between December and February have been 2.1 degree celsius above normal. This was never seen since 1950. As a result, I didn't see birds coming from other regions of France and Europe (Coal Tit, Brambling) in my small bird garden this year.
The others still came, for the greatest pleasure of the whole family!
In my bird garden, nothing special, except for the birth of baby big tits and the unexpected visit of a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
In December, we experienced a short period of cold.
Awesome! We have new tenants! A couple of common wood pigeons settled in one of the white birch trees.
I rearranged my garden, as some areas were entirely covered in bamboos. This past summer, I dug out everything, and it was not easy!
I now have a couple of landscaping projects for the garden. I purchased plants that are known to attract birds, in particular a decorative apple tree "Malus Everest", which is covered with small yellow fruits much appreciated by birds.
I installed this modern colored bird house for a couple of sparrows (34 cm diameter). Mr. Sautier built it for me. Both sides can be removed so it is possible to videotape from the outside...What a great idea for a new movie next year.
Here is yet another art piece by Mr. Sautier: a bird house that is also a feeder! The tits quickly adopted this 4 star residence!
Coal tits are back in our backyard after several years of absence. This is the sign of an upcoming cold winter in the East and the North of France.
Etant en retraite... j'ai refait mon jardin.
Tout d'abord j'ai enlevé le mimosa qui prenait beaucoup de trop de place dans ce petit jardin. Puis j'ai installé une cascade pour le bonheur des oiseaux.
Et à la mi-novembre je continuerai les plantations.
Texte de François Thoumy, LPO Ille-Et-Vilaine
Les postes de nourrissage doivent être nettoyés régulièrement et si leurs visiteurs sont nombreux, l'accumulation de fientes ou de restes d'aliments peut propager des maladies. Ce phénomène d'épidémie a déjà été constaté de nombreuses fois notamment par exemple chez les verdiers.
Pour l'hiver prochain, voici un petit rappel des règles à respecter pour le nourrissage...
Trop de distributeurs placés au même endroit peuvent provoquer des encombrements, il est préférable de séparer les zones de nourriture pour donner ainsi l'occasion aux oiseaux plus timides de se nourrir.
Il est important de nettoyer les mangeoires régulièrement (quotidiennement pour les mangeoires plateau et hebdomadairement pour les autres), avec de l'eau savonneuse afin d'éviter la transmission de maladie par les fientes ou les restes d'aliments. Déplacez la mangeoire une ou deux fois par hiver pour éviter les amoncellements de fientes.
Ne laissez pas s'accumuler sur la mangeoire de grandes quantités de nourriture non consommée.
L'intérieur de la mangeoire doit impérativement rester brut et il vaut mieux éviter de vernir, de peindre ou traiter l'extérieur car les produits utilisés peuvent être répulsifs voire toxiques pour les oiseaux.
A l'exception de quelques oiseaux qui se nourrissent au sol, beaucoup préfèrent un plateau placé en hauteur. Placez la mangeoire de manière à ce que les oiseaux puissent facilement s'échapper pour se mettre à l'abri. Ne la placez pas trop près d'une haie ou d'un arbre d'où les chats pourraient facilement attaquer. Une mangeoire-plateau à environ 1,50 m de hauteur peut être facilement remplie tout en restant inaccessible aux chats. Choisissez de préférence un endroit visible de la maison.
Après la saison de nourrissage, nettoyez vos mangeoires avec de l'eau savonneuse et désinfectez-la avec une solution javellisée.