Natural food sources
Natural foods are always a treat for birds. Plants which have seeds birds eat – for example, sunflowers and many species of wildflower. Starlings love to feed on grubs in the lawn and thrushes enjoy a fruity mix on the ground – leftover windfall or damaged apples are ideal. Robins love mealworms, either on the ground or on a table. Any shrub or tree that produces berries is an excellent choice in a bird friendly garden. Berries provide lots of vitamins and energy.
It is also important to providing supplementary feeding spots. Hanging bird feeders in your garden is an excellent way to feed seeds, sunflower hearts, peanuts and specialist seed mixes to the more agile birds such as Blue Tits, Greenfinches and House Sparrows. Offer bug nibbles for long-tailed tits.
Provide a safe and snug shelter where your birds can roost and nest. Nesting boxes are popular with Sparrows, Great tits, Blue tits and Robins. Make sure they are positioned somewhere quiet and hidden away where they won’t be disturbed by predators and bad weather. Trees are ideal roosting spots for starlings and larger birds but small birds often prefer to shelter in shrubs and hedges
Having a bird bath in your garden will provide birds with water to drink and bathe in. Location of the bird bath is very important – birds will only use it if they feel safe. Make sure birds have clear visibility as they bathe, with bushes or trees nearby to provide cover if alarmed. Try placing the bath at different points around the garden to find the most popular site. A wildlife pond is another idea – this can be home to a huge range of wildlife and will also attract birds because of the insect food it will provide.
By turning your garden into a small-scale, bird friendly “nature reserve”, you can really make a difference to local bird populations. And of course you will get the enjoyment of seeing more birds and wildlife in your garden.
With Warm Wishes
The Hartwell Team
Hartwell hidden gems: RHS Spring Launch and Orchid Show 7-8 April 2020 – RHS Horticultural Halls, London