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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Please do not use insecticides, fungicides, snail bait in your gardens. Please do not poison our garden birds.
- 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.
PLEASE ADD YOUR IDEAS, LET US WORK IN HARMONY TO CREATE A SAFE AND HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL.