There is something truly awesome about attracting beautiful creatures to your garden. When we moved down to the West Coast we spent loads of time in our garden, transforming it from a rather dry unpleasant space into something really stunning, especially when the spring season comes around. However there seemed to be something lacking. We needed more ‘life’ – some kind of activity to increase the natural energy of the garden itself. The first obvious choice was attracting the local birds using feeders.
We tried a few different methods – such as the usual scattering of bird seed on the ground and impaling chunks of vrot fruit on spikes, but in the end the fruit didn’t seem to work so well and the seed just attracted millions of LBJ’s (Little Brown Jobs) – bless them, but we were hoping to attract something a little different. However, after a bit of trial and error we found the perfect way to import some dazzling living colour, a mega-practical bottle bird feeder.
We find that the local Lesser Double Collared Sunbirds are the most active with the bottle bird feeders – we see them flying back and forth at high speed all day long. Several sunbirds will often try to land at one time, which play online pokies causes a veritable whirlwind of colour as they fly around the bottle in a maddening blur waiting for their turn to land on the narrow perch. Their long skinny beaks are just perfect for sipping away at the sweet juice in the nozzle.
We highly recommend hanging one or two of these awesome feeders in your garden or perhaps one on your balcony if you live in a flat. If you would like to get your hands on one of these simple yet highly effective bottle bird feeders you will probably be able to find them at any big garden centre. We found one of our feeders at the Cape Garden Centre in Kraaifontein, but we also found one here locally at the St. Helena Nursery – so they should be very easy to source. My wife says that she has also spotted them at various farm stalls throughout the Cape.
BOTTLE BIRD FEEDERS: R100 – R150.
In all honesty if you have the time and inclination these feeders should be pretty easy to make yourselves. All you need is a glass bottle, some durable wire to wrap around the bottle to suspend it, a stick or platform of some kind for the birds to land on and a copper elbow fitting to be joined to the cap as a feeding nozzle. However, if you are a busy person who barely has a moment to breathe, let alone build a feeder, it’s nice to know that they are easy to find.
There are plenty of different mixtures that you can use in the bottle but we find that a simple mix of sugar, water and a drop of red food colouring works best.
RATIO: 1 litre water, 4T sugar, 2-3 drops red food colouring
*TIP – dissolve the sugar in a small amount of warm water first before adding the rest of the water and colouring.
These bottle bird feeders have brought us a huge amount of joy and the guests absolutely love them. We often find our visitors sitting outside their rooms with their cameras aimed excitedly at the feeders, just waiting for that perfect shot to unfold in front of their very eyes. Luckily, it happens very often!
Go get one – start your very own “bird bar” 😀