Breeding Season: How to Help Ireland’s Garden BirdsPetmania Pet Care Advisor
What is Breeding Season?
Breeding season occurs each year, usually around the spring time for many garden birds. Birds begin constructing their nests, flying to and from their nesting sites in search of materials.
Males being attracting mates by showing off bright breeding plumage during courtship displays, by delivering food to females, by displaying their nest-building abilities, and by singing or calling.
Once the male has found a female mate and have mated, the female will lay eggs and in some species, both male and female will raise the chicks when they have hatched.
How to Help Garden Birds During Breeding Season
There are some things that you can do to assist your garden birds at this busy time of year.
Many species can struggle to find suitable nesting spots due other birds like sparrows and starlings hogging all the best cavities. A well-placed nest box can be the difference between nesting success and failure, especially when accompanied by the consistent supply of food and water.
A secure, weatherproof, safe nestbox would be much appreciated by your garden birds. Attach it to a tree trunk or branch, with natural shelter, with enough height to steer clear of predators like cats.
The size of the hole in your nest box will determine the species that it attracts, as they will replicate the natural environment in which they will choose to build their nest. Nest boxes should be installed before breeding season (which starts in February), to allow birds plenty of time to find them, and choose them as their home.
Avoid placing your nestbox close to the feeding area, as the regular comings and goings of other birds are likely to inhibit breeding in the box.
2. Offer lots of food
Continue feeding garden birds high energy food likes mealworms, suet and peanuts. By showing them that there is a reliable food source not too far from where they nest, they will be able to provide adequate nutrition to their young. Their young will also learn where your garden feeders are, and thus ensuring many birds visit your feeders for a long time.
3. Don’t forget water
Bird baths are a great way for birds to stay hydrated and clean during breeding season, especially those that eat lots of seeds. Your birdbath may be the first place inyour garden a parent bird will take their young, and they may soon grow dependent upon the only source of water they know. For this reason, it is essential to keep your bath filled and clean.
4. Stay away from nests
Humans leave scent trails, which may not get picked up by birds, but it is certainly noticed by predators like cats and foxes. These predators tend to follow these trails to see if it will lead to food. If you visit a bird nest repeatedly or linger for too long, our scent can be picked up by other hungry animals looking for a snack. For the birds’ sake, don’t reveal their nest to predators by visiting it repeatedly.
5. Leave out nest materials
Help make the birds in your garden’s lives easier by offering some suitable nest-building materials like grass stems, twigs, and soft leaves. Birds like robins and sparrows craft woven nests, so this will particularly help them. Leave out the pieces in a small basket or on any flat surface. Don’t leave out any pieces that are longer than two inches, as the birds may get tangled in them. Do not offer tinsel, plastic, or tin foil because it’s dangerous for birds.