3 ways birds in the garden can transform your green space (and how to attract them)

South Africa offers 846 bird species. A rich variety of avian wonders. South Africa is also home to many gardens, the perfect opportunity to invite birds into your space. Not only is it delightful to wake up to the chirping and birdsong, but birds in the garden offer your outdoor space a range of benefits.

Our favourite reasons to have birds in the garden

There are so many ways different birds can help your garden. Here are some of our favourite benefits.

birds in the garden

3 ways birds in the garden can transform your green space

1. Pest and rodent control

Pests such as spiders, aphids, gnats, and rodents including mice and rats can damage your garden. Rodents are particularly harmful as they gnaw on fruits, bulbs, and vegetables and disrupt freshly planted beds. However, birds of prey such as owls, kestrels, and hawks are effective at controlling these small mammals.

Additionally, insects that feed on flowers and foliage can be managed by birds like robins, swallows, flycatchers, and thrushes. These birds offer a natural form of pest control by reducing the number of bugs infesting your outdoor space.

2. Pollination

Better pollination means bigger, brighter flowerbeds and more productive harvests. While bees and butterflies are considered the most important pollinators, many bird species also play a crucial role in spreading pollen. Sunbirds, hummingbirds, and bulbuls are excellent additions to any garden due to their pollinating capabilities.

3. Aeration

Aerating the soil can significantly improve the growth and health of plants. It enhances the access of plant roots to air and water, lowers soil compaction, and fosters stronger root growth. Interestingly, birds that search for insects by pecking or scratching the ground also help to aerate the soil. These birds are expert aerators and include hadedas, starlings, and sparrows.

How to make your garden a bird haven

If you want to take advantage of all the benefits that birds in the garden can bring, you must make them feel welcome. In turn, they will visit often and spend plenty of time among your plants.

Add a bird bath near your garden, or better yet, right in your flowerbed, berry patch, or garden rows. As they bathe, any splashes they create can help water nearby plants.

Let your garden grow more naturally with tiered plants or thicket-like patches. Birds in the garden will feel more comfortable and are more likely to stay nearby if they feel sheltered and safe.

Add feeding areas near the garden, such as supplemental feeders or plants specifically for the birds to enjoy. With more food sources available, there will be more birds taking advantage of the bounty and lending their assistance to the garden.

Shop any of Elaine’s Birding products online at Plantland.

Provide nesting sites in the yard, including birdhouses, nesting platforms, and natural options such as hollow trees or thorny patches where birds can safely raise families. Baby birds have hearty appetites for insects, and their parents will use your garden to meet that need.

To complete your bird haven, add the finishing touch: bird-attracting plants!

Plantland offers a diverse selection of flora that will beautify your garden and entice a variety of wildlife.

Plant nectar-rich flowers

Vygies, agapanthus, lavender and streletzia.

Grow bird-loving shrubs

Aloes, Cape honeysuckle and cross-berry.

Having a diverse backyard flock of birds in the garden can greatly benefit your garden as birds provide much-needed help. With their assistance, you can reap more benefits from your garden throughout the season.