Words by Harriet Hickin, Senior Engagement Officer – Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust
There are around 16 million gardens in the UK, which create an area for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves! With numbers of once-common birds in decline, such as the house sparrow, which has decreased by 71% in recent years, our gardens are a vital lifeline. Your garden can provide food, shelter and water for our struggling birds.
Before we get into the blog, we want to share that we have our 10% off all bird products event from the 25th - 31st of October. To see our complete bird range, click the button below.
How can I encourage birds to visit my garden?
Encouraging birds to visit your garden is easy and a great way to help wildlife. Whether you have a balcony, small patch or large open space, there is something you can do:
- Put out suitable food on a bird table and in feeders, preferably somewhere that is undisturbed, and away from cats and other predators – even one that sticks to a window will do the trick! A mix of seeds and nuts, fruit, and fat will attract a wide variety of birds to your yard or garden, giving you a welcome view of wildlife from the warmth of your own home. (Top tip: ensure you clean feeders and tables regularly to avoid disease).
- Provide fresh water; birds need it for drinking and bathing. A birdbath can be any sort of shallow dish, such as an old dustbin lid or a plant saucer, which needs shallow sloping sides with a shallow approach to water. Make sure to keep your birdbath clean and change the water regularly.
- Provide places for birds to nest and rest safely by planting native trees and shrubs, or putting up nest boxes.
Provide a home for birds in your garden
With natural nesting sites in decline, putting a nest box in your garden can make all the difference to your local birds. Nest boxes placed in gardens can make a real difference to the success or failure of a breeding species in an area.
Learn how to make yours here: www.lrwt.org.uk/actions/how-build-nesting-box-birds
After the end of each breeding season, all nest boxes should be taken down, old nesting materials removed, and the box should be scalded with boiling water to kill any parasites.
Learn how to keep yours clean here: www.lrwt.org.uk/actions/how-clean-nestboxes-and-bird-feeders
Do you know which birds are visiting your garden?
There are lots of different birds that are regular visitors to our gardens – click here to find out the 10 most common and see if you can identify the birds in your garden: www.lrwt.org.uk/identify-garden-birds
Get crafty this Christmas to help birds
As the days get colder and snow starts to fall, our garden and countryside birds can struggle to find enough food and fresh water naturally. So make sure to provide a supply of food and water throughout the colder months. You can give your garden birds a treat with an edible Christmas wreath. It will also give you the chance to see these creatures up close and personal, including some species, such as waxwings, that are only around in the winter months.
Learn how to make a Christmas Wreath for birds here: www.lrwt.org.uk/actions/how-make-christmas-wreath-birds