Gardens are a very important environment for wild birds, they can provide nesting sites and food for birds throughout the year. It is not just in towns and cities that gardens are important to wild birds, in the countryside it is just as important. People can help by planting trees and shrubs that attract birds – you do not need a huge garden to do this just remember that what you plant can have a dual purpose – providing pleasure for you, and improving the natural environment for wildlife. By selecting plants that provide shelter and nesting site for birds, or as a food source, for example berries that are edible to birds such as Rowan trees, you can encourage birds into your garden. Another important way to do this is to provide wild bird food all year round.
In the winter months when food can be scarce for wild birds then having bird feeders with high energy food such as peanuts, fat balls and seeds, can help birds survive the winter months, while also giving you pleasure seeing them visit your garden. Even if you do not have a garden, you can use window-based feeders, the birds will literally be outside your window – better than watching TV.
During the late spring and summer months you can change what you use in your bird feeders and provide smaller seeds that will attract a wide range of birds such as the very beautiful and colourful finches. We stop feeding peanuts in late spring as they can cause problems when birds feed these to their young and change over to Niger seeds and smaller, finer bird seeds.
If you already feed birds in your garden or from your window-based bird feeder then well done and you know the delight and pleasure there is watching them. If this encourages you to start doing it then that is wonderful and you will not regret it. Nature needs a helping hand and we can do this by planting to encourage wildlife and by helping wild creatures. You can do this by dedicating a small (or large) area of your garden to nature, letting wild flowers grow and planting trees and shrubs that encourage nature. Putting up nesting boxes and bat boxes, while also creating insect shelters. We can all do our bit to make the world a better place for people and nature.
It is worth remembering that is is very important to keep bird feeders clean, wash and si
Find out more: RSPB Guide to feeding wild birds and feeding birds (starter guides), The Woodland Trust has a handy guide as well as a list of trees to plant to encourage wild birds, The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has a useful guide to feeding garden birds along with many other interesting articles. You can find many other useful sources of information if you do a web search, or check out books on Amazon on feeding and attracting wild birds.
It is worth remembering that is very important to keep bird feeders clean, wash and disinfect them often with a safe disinfectant suitable for wildlife, this can help keep your garden birds safe and healthy. Birds also need water, by providing water throughout the year can help wild birds survive during long cold spells in winter and very dry summer periods.