Gardening for your Birds
No matter what size garden you have there’s no doubt you can get added enjoyment from it by encouraging and watching the birds and wildlife that visit.
Here are a few tips on how you can make your garden safer and more attractive to birds & wildlife.
Birds come into your garden principally to feed, breed, nest & rest. For some birds the food you supply is essential to their survival at certain times of the year. It is vitally important that birds can rely on the food being readily and consistently supplied.
A regular source of fresh water is also essential to enable them to drink, bathe and preen, see why do birds need water advice page.
Insects and invertebrates are a valuable source of food for a lot of birds so the use of pesticides should be kept to a minimum where possible. Birds will help you keep greenfly, blackfly and other insects at bay if you give them the opportunity.
Different birds eat different types of food, they fall into two categories: – insect eater (animal matter) and seed eaters (vegetable matter) however some require and eat both so your garden needs to be a good source of both in order to attract the widest variety of birds.
The more plant & shrub varieties you can grow in your garden the wider range of insects, birds, and other wildlife you will encourage to feed there.
Plants and shrubs offer shelter, home and a feeding place for a wide variety of birds. They are also home to a variety of insects which in turn are a valuable source of food for birds and other animals.
There are a wide choice of trees, shrubs or plants that produce seeds & berries that not only attract different birds but are also a valuable source of food for birds and wildlife.
Here are just a few examples;
- Ivy berries – are a popular food for Blackcaps, Blackbirds and Pigeons.
- Apple trees – if you have room for an apple tree the Thrushes, Redwings, Blackcaps and Fieldfare will appreciate the windfalls. If you don’t have room for a tree why not just put an apple out for the birds on the ground or on the bird table.
- Forsythia – the buds of the Forsythia are a delicacy enjoyed by Bullfinches as are forget me not seeds.
- Teasel, lavender and sunflower seeds – are loved by Bullfinches.
- Alder and silver birch – attract Redpolls. Buddleia (commonly called the butterfly bush) – is a popular beautiful shrub that’s easy to grow and is home to a wide variety of butterflies. It also attracts insects, bees, moths, & flies – which make a tasty meal for your birds.
- Rowan berries – loved by Starlings and the Mistle Thrush.
- Beech trees – attract Chaffinches & Bramblings.
- Pyracantha, Berberis and Dogwood – the berries attract many different bird varieties.
Lawns also play an important part in supplying food for the birds in your garden and are hunting grounds for Blackbirds, Robins, Thrushes & Starlings as they hunt for earthworms, leatherjackets, small flies and even ants. Song Thrushes will help keep your garden free from snails and can be seen smashing the shells on pavements and rocks to get at the snail inside.
So to summarise careful thought and planning of your garden can not only be visually rewarding but can bring with it a diverse range of birds and wildlife to enhance that pleasure.