Good news for those yearning to attract more songbirds to backyards; simply create your own patch of bird habitat and winged visitors will make a bee-line straight to your feeder.
Here are the top five ways to make a yard more bird-friendly.
One: Fill clean birdbath with fresh water daily. Sometimes, especially in summer, birds need water more than they need birdseed. Put a flat stone in the centre of the birdbath and don’t fill over it, to create a useable perch.
Two: Plant bushes; birds need a hiding place for quick cover and thermal protection. An option is to create a twig pile near the birdbath/feeder until bushes grow. Shrubs with berries provide birds with the bonus of food.
Three: Plant flowers to assure birds have insects to feed their young. Use native plants to mimic natural surroundings (and help restore urban biodiversity). Some birds even prefer native plants.
Four: Determine never to use pesticides, which cause long-term negative effects like eggshell thinning. Diazinon has been implicated in over 150 mass bird die-off incidences.
Five: Control your cats by keeping them inside. It’s estimated that outdoor cats kill up to 3.7 billion birds a year. Studies conducted by National Geographic Society and University of Georgia in the so-called ‘kittycam’ project revealed 44 per cent of pet cats to be cutthroats, averaging one kill every 17 hours outdoors. A free-ranging cat is a free-ranging killer.