Since moving back into my house 18 months ago, there have been numerous things I’ve wanted to do in order to improve it. Unfortunately, we haven’t managed to do much because we haven’t yet managed to sell our other property, my husband’s flat. It now sounds like someone is interested in the flat though, so we’re getting our hopes up and talking about what we would splash out on if it sells. The one thing I would love to do is to sort out the garden.
We have a huge area of lawn at the front of our house that we don’t use because it’s not fenced. Libby adores being outside but our back garden isn’t great for her because it’s uneven and there is a greenhouse. The dogs also have a free run of our back garden because we don’t have any areas fenced off. As well as being a problem for Libby, this means that we don’t have a safe area to feed the birds in.
When I was growing up, we lived in a beautiful little village at the foot of the hills. Our little bungalow was surrounded by fields and seeing birds of all different types was commonplace. I had no idea that barn owls were unusual or that not everybody had woodpeckers and wrens in their garden. Whilst we live on an estate these days, our garden backs onto a school nature reserve that has basically been left to its own devices for the past few years. As a result, we are lucky enough to regularly find birds in our garden and in the local area.
Without a safe haven from the dogs though, I have been reluctant to put food down for the birds in our garden. I once went running after Pluto as he in turn went haring after a huge buzzard that was taking off on the field near to where we used to live. This made me realise that dogs can be almost as much of a risk to birds as cats… even if they do look like butter wouldn’t melt!
When we do start to feed the birds in the garden, I will be making absolutely sure that they are safe and well nourished. Excellent sources of food that you can put out for the birds include black sunflower seeds, peanuts, bird seed mixtures, bird cakes and food bars. The most important thing in terms of safety though is the feeder that you use.
Bird tables are popular, but they can put birds at risk once feeding. When feeding, birds are understandably less aware of the dangers around them. The height of most bird tables is not too high for a cat to jump up to, as demonstrated by my beautiful old cat Simba. She was still sunbathing on the shed when she was old and weak, in fact a few days later she died of kidney failure. And yet she still had enough energy to jump up onto the shed roof. Imagine the potential for a young, fit cat.
A fantastic solution that will allow you to keep the birds safe is to purchase a bird feeder. Feeders should be easy to clean and refill, sturdy enough to last and they should have no sharp parts that could hurt the birds in any way. They should be hung up high enough to make absolutely sure that no cats can reach them. There is a huge selection of feeders available, such as this fabulous range: http://www.gardenhealth.com/products/feeders
I can’t wait to get one of these in our garden. For the time being though, we will have to make do with feeding the ducks!