Birding book a feather-covered little gem

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By Lindsay Slogrove Time of article publishedOct 21, 2017

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Garden Birds in Southern Africa

By: Duncan Butchart

Dare you to read this little gem without feeling the urge to get some soil under your fingernails and planning your garden hide.

Even if you can barely tell a dove from a pigeon, Butchart’s clear passion for garden birding will intrigue and inspire.

He points out that suburbia is becoming more important as a refuge for wild feathered friends as development and habitat creep squeeze suitable nesting and living areas. Highly manicured gardens offer less sanctuary, but even small adjustments can be made to start encouraging birds to find a new home with you. 

Because South Africa’s climate and landscapes are so diverse, he breaks regions into vegetation zones so you can choose the best plants – from shrubs to trees, hedges, rockeries and meadows – to attract birds that live naturally in your area.

He advises on water features, from a simple bird bath to creating a marsh; to providing nesting sites and feeding advice.

The question of whether to feed or just let nature do its thing is interesting. 

He suggests that, since humans have such a negative impact on birds, a little human helping hand is not a bad thing – and there is much useful advice on this subject.

Butchart is also informative on how to keep birds safe from accidents (window strikes, for example), and predators such as cats, snakes and monkeys.

He devotes a page to each bird with descriptions and beautiful photographs, call-sounds, breeding, feeding and specific garden requirements for the 101 birds you may be lucky enough to welcome to your home.

Anyone with even a tiny spot of land to create a bird haven should have this information – and this 

idea-packed book.

Two lucky readers of The Independent on Saturday will each win a copy of Garden Birds in Southern Africa (recommended retail price R230). 

To win SMS TIOSGarden followed by your name and surname to 33258 by Wednesday, October 25 at noon. SMSes charged at R1.50, terms and conditions apply. Winners will be contacted telephonically.

The Independent on Saturday

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