Give a thought for our garden birds

Some wonderful thoughts from neighbour Penny Mustart in Roseberry Road. I love her suggestion for adding bells to cats’ collars to even out the odds for the birds:

Did you hear the magnificent Dawn Chorus early this morning? Hearing our birds sing out their territorial praise and thankfulness for another safe night, is one of the joys of living in a city, yet sharing it with our wild birds.

We have shared the past 5 weeks with a brooding Cape Sparrow (“mossie”) family who have used our grapevine to house their nest. This has opened our eyes to the secretive ways of these humble, hard working creatures who have nested and reared three young birds – right outside our kitchen window for us to watch each day. We now have some insight as to the obstacles and hardships facing birds in our built up environment.

Having left the nest the family has now flown to the wider Mowbray world. There a few things that we can do to assist the survival of our garden birds in the upcoming summer:

  1. Birds need water, to drink and to bathe in. Why not install a bird bath in your garden? Once done, keep it clean and refresh the water each day, especially at the end of a hot day.
  2. Cats are bird predators. Many of you have treasured and well-fed domestic cats, but do you realise that they usually do not stay on your property, and trespassing, often catch a neighbouring garden’s bird just for the fun of it? Please endeavour to keep your cats on your property (preferably indoors). Further, attach a small bell on their collar, this warns birds of their approach.
  3. The bird breeding season is spring through summer (about August to March). Nesting is usually in hedges, trees, vines. Why not leave these areas safe for birds during these times, and do any major hedge and tree pruning for autumn?
  4. Most of our garden birds (Olive thrushes, Cape Robins, Cape Sparrows, White Eyes) eat small seeds, insects, spiders, molluscs. We distribute a garden bird seed mix (millet, maize rice, oats), obtainable from supermarkets and pet shops, on our lawn.
  5. Please do not use insecticides, fungicides, snail bait in your gardens. Please do not poison our garden birds.
  6. Rare visitors to some gardens are the nectar-feeding sunbirds (Lesser Double Collared, Malachite). We all know that planting aloes, wild dagga etc, is a good strategy for providing nectar. All garden shops have a good knowledge and supply of of suitable plants for your garden.



2 responses to “Give a thought for our garden birds

  1. We also get a lot of Cape Weavers, occasional bul buls and have even had the odd (as in very unusual) Paradise Flycatcher. Of course it goes without saying that the place is full of Laughing Doves, some red eye doves and some turtle doves as well as the big fat wood/speckled pigeons. About now we will start to hear both the Diedericks (dee dee diederick) cuckoo and the Klaas’s (maaaitjie, maaaitjie) cuckoo – sometimes see them calling to each other. We are very lucky to live in such an old (well wooded) suburb !

  2. Thanks michael, I was sure I saw a Paradise Flycatcher the other day bump up against our kitchen window and it happened in a flash. The tail was unmistakable. I look forward to hearing the cuckoos. Yesterday morning while I was walking on the common my dog Archie called my attention to strange sounds on the ide of the path. It was a Levaillant’s Cisticola upside
    down with its feet tangled in the grass. It was desperately trying to get free. I managed to untangle it and opened my hand to release it and the little fellow shot off at great speed

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