What could be cuter than a Blue tit? That’s easy: a baby Blue tit!
We’ve already seen adorable photos of fun-size fledgling birds popping up on social media (did you know we’re on Twitter & Facebook?) so we thought we’d give you a quick guide on this delightful time of year: The time when we see fluffy little birds poke their tiny beaks out of nest boxes!
Mid-summer is the time when all the hard work garden birds have put into raising their family during Spring comes to fruition. Most of our resident breeding species, if they’ve been successful, will have fledged young. They may be a little clumsy but they can fly short distances and many will turn up in gardens for a short stay, they may even begin to show interest in any bird food available.
Most juvenile birds are a little less wary than adults as they haven’t quite got to grips with all the dangers that they face. Many young birds will be predated or succumb to accidents in the first few weeks of life. It’s a little sad, but birds have evolved to have larger broods than would otherwise be needed to ensure that some of their offspring survive. There are several ways you can help young birds appearing in your garden this summer:
Drinking and Bathing
Providing a source of clean water for drinking or bathing, particularly during warm spells is very helpful to young birds that may have come from nests in or near your garden. They won’t want to go too far. Any shallow source of water from a pond to a simple dish can be effective and offer young birds a place to drink. It may take a few days to get noticed but once found birds catch on quick and will come back regularly so make sure it’s kept topped up.
Dogs and Cats
We all love our pets but they can present a danger to young birds in the garden. If possible keep your pets indoors for a few weeks or supervise them while out in the garden. With cats, a bell on the collar always helps to provide a little audible warning to any fledglings using your garden.
Small amounts of seed, fat and mealworms can be helpful throughout the summer to supplement natural food stocks. Try to avoid peanuts throughout the breeding season as there is the risk of choking for young birds still in the nest. Remember that many species will have more than one brood so best to wait until September before starting to use Peanuts again.
Sometimes when young birds first leave the comparative safety of the nest they can’t fly. This is normal and they will frequently sit on the ground or perch nearby. Most of the time the parents won’t be too far away and the best thing we can do is not interfere and stay well back. Occasionally they can find themselves in trouble, whether it’s flying into windows or finding themselves too close to busy roads. In dangerous situations like that, fledglings can be moved short distances to safety, preferably within hearing distance of where they were found as they are most likely still being fed by parents.
If you do have trouble with birds flying into your windows, why not try window alerts? These are discreet stickers which apply to your windows; they’re nearly invisible to humans, yet provide a clear signal to birds so they can steer clear! – Available here
Watching young birds in your garden can be rewarding, entertaining and emotional in equal measure and provide a real-life natural soap opera on your own doorstep. We would love to see your pictures and hear your stories of young birds from this year’s breeding season – join the conversation with us on Facebook or Twitter…