A recent survey conducted by the RSPB has revealed a dramatic decline in the variety of birds being spotted in UK gardens. Since 1979, woodpigeon populations have increased by a whopping 950%, the most of significant change out of all the species. On the other hand, starling populations have decreased by 80%, greenfinches by 57% and chaffinches by 55%. Two main reasons for the decline of certain species are food shortages and loss of habitat, but this is something you could help with. With a few simple steps you could turn your garden into a bird haven, providing the food and shelter needed for these birds to survive. The added bonus? You get to see a plethora of species such as wrens, robins, blue tits, starlings and finches inhabiting your garden.
Food and Drink
Garden birds aren’t fussy when it comes to food, but there are certain foods that you could leave out that could provide them with a balanced, nutritious diet.
Solid fats such as lard and suet are good, especially in winter. Try and avoid fats from greasy food such as bacon, as this could upset a bird’s stomach.
Seed mixes that you can put in a bird feeder are an easy choice, and readily available to buy in garden centres and even supermarkets.
Over-ripe fruit is an excellent way to provide the birds with vitamins and antioxidants - berries and mashed up apple would work well. As well as helping the birds out, it’s also a good way to avoid food waste!
Water placed in a bird bath would be perfect so that birds can have a drink, but also wash themselves at the same time. Even in winter when there is plenty of moisture around, bird baths still act as a welcome respite for birds.
Top tip: If you want to prevent pigeons from dominating your garden and eating all of the food, make sure that bird feeders are attached to something angular, such as a vertical pole or branch. Pigeons can only land horizontally, but most other garden birds don’t have that issue.
Birds usually welcome any kind of shelter, particularly in winter! Having a wooden bird box could provide them with protection from the cold, and somewhere to conserve their energy. Bird species have different preferences when it comes to entrance hole sizes, so you could pick/build a bird box depending on what species you want to attract. For more information on how to build your own bird box, and what entrance hole sizes suit certain species, check out the RSPB’s guide.
National Nest Box Week runs from 14th till 21st Feb, the perfect excuse to start building one, or at least placing one in your garden!
Where to Place Items
It's important to make sure that any bird feeders, baths or boxes are in a suitable position in your garden. You don’t want them too far away from bushes or trees as the birds might feel too exposed, but at the same time you don’t want them too close either. The reason for this? Cats.They often use plant material as cover before attacking, so make sure you’re aware of these potential predators when placing items in your garden.
We hope that this guide has given you some ideas on how to make your garden the perfect bird sanctuary. If you’re looking for other ways to refresh your outdoor space, then come and take a look at our specialist paving centre in Widnes. If you’re in need of a new patio area, circle feature or wall, we have a range of high-quality items for you to choose from.