Invite birds to your garden


Inviting birds to your garden is not only a treat for your own senses, but birds also play a key role in ensuring a healthy ecosystem. We give tips on how to change your garden into a haven for birds.

Birds play a vital role as pollinators, and by planting the right plants you can attract from 50 to 100 species of birds to your garden.

Make sure that your garden has the plants that they need – the bigger the variety, the more feathery friends will come and visit. They love to bathe, so make sure the birdbath is always filled. Make them feel extra welcome by providing nesting material such as twigs and dried grass to build and line nests, as well as a mud patch for swallows’ nests.

We’re planting …

Flowers that attract birds for their nectar or seeds. Sunbirds love indigenous wild dagga (Leonotis Leonurus), aloes, strelitzia, Cape honeysuckle, proteas, red hot pokers and watsonia.

The tinier sunbirds will also seek out indigenous and garden salvia, like Black and Bloom or Big Blue, for their nectar. These plants are water-wise and heat-tolerant perennials that grow in full sun to semi-shade in ordinary garden soil.

There are plenty of seed-loving birds too, and if you let annuals like marigolds, cosmos, sunflowers, poppies and zinnias go to seed, you will be providing a natural supply of food instead of building a dependence on bird feeders.

Don’t forget about perennials like gaillardia and coreopsis as well as indigenous grasses, various Eragrostis types and Anthericum saundersiae that produce lovely heads of flowers
and seeds.

Some tips:

• Choose flowers that grow best in your local area.

• Prepare soil well before planting, adding plenty of compost and fertiliser.

• Plant a variety that are different heights when mature and flower at different times to provide a constant source of nectar or seed.

• Don’t deadhead. Allow plants to go to seed. What the birds miss will pop up as new plants.

• Don’t use insecticides. Birds also feed on insects that are attracted to the flowers.

• Include grasses with abundant seed heads. They are attractive as accents when interspersed among the flowers.