Stylish Birdbaths, Birdhouses and Feeders for the Garden Stylish Birdbaths, Birdhouses and Feeders for the Garden
Birdhouses and Bird Feeders
Once upon a time, at least through the 18th century, songbirds were caught, caged and hidden somewhere in the garden. Visitors walking garden paths would then be able to imagine they were in a natural woodland scene. Attracting birds to the garden simply for enjoyment is a relatively new concept for gardeners. It used to be that birds that sought to nest in one garden or another might often find themselves in the unfortunate position of dinner on a plate. Things began to look up for the birds when the Society for the Protection of Birds was founded in England during the 19th century. From this point on, gardeners began to treat wild birds that visited their land more humanely.
The first birdhouses were essentially rustic affairs made of rough wood, bark and bits of thatch. These designs, however, are still effective today as birds are not quite as picky house hunters as humans. Generally, most birds seemed to prefer natural houses over more ornately artificial ones. Not surprisingly, each bird species has a different house plan in mind, so size and shape play a major role when it comes to which type of bird will nest there.
The easiest birds to attract are usually wrens and bluebirds, but once you learn the ideal conditions for the bird you have in mind, you may just as easily be able to attract woodpeckers, hummingbirds, or other popular species. Today, gardeners have many styles of birdhouses to choose from at local garden centers or online stores. These bird shelters may be fastened to tall poles of hung from trees or eaves. The styles are endless, from simple gourd shapes to elaborate Victorian painted ladies. For a coastal garden, consider lighthouse-style birdhouses. For a formal garden, choose a white gazebo birdhouse. There are even pagoda birdhouses for your Oriental gardens.
Most birdhouses double as feeders, and may sport a small tray for nesting birds to help themselves. There is a wide variety of birdfeed as well, and again, some species may prefer one kind over another. The important thing is to detract other garden animals, like squirrels, from helping themselves and driving your birds somewhere else.
Birdbaths are common garden features, but yours need not be common. There are many styles and materials available for today's birdbaths. These are excellent features because they are functional for birds, but they allow gardeners to add the decorative element of water in the garden and even make stunning focal points for the yard. The most popular style of birdbath consists of a shallow basin propped up on a marble or stone pedestal. These can be small, large, basic or highly ornate depending on your garden's style.
There is a wide variety of lovely birdbaths available today. From Tiffany-style mosaic baths to classically designed baths, there is one right for your setting. The basin and pedestal may be purchased together or separately, and there are many variations of each. Some interesting styles may be shaped as mushrooms or large clamshells. Some may feature delightful statuettes like fairies or gnomes. Others are simply decorated with vines or floral arrangements. Some birdbaths may even sport simple fountains that keep the water from becoming stagnant. No matter what your garden's style, there are plenty of examples to choose from.
Another slightly unusual feature for birds are ancient dovecotes. Throughout history, pigeon keeping was important in many parts of the world. Ancient Romans, the French and Colonial Americans all had their own styles for dovecotes. Consider this decorative feature for your garden to provide great visual interest.
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