Would you like to see more birds in your garden this year? If so, it's worth having a think about what you can do to make your garden as attractive to our feathered friends as possible.
While we tend to think of our garden as a our own little piece of the natural world, you may be surprised to know that many gardens support very life at all. This is because they are overly manicured and too rigidly managed to allow nature to thrive. You can ensure your garden bucks this trend, and is attractive to birds in particular, by following the tips below.
Food glorious food
Birds spend most of their waking hours on the hunt for food, and the best way to attract them to your garden is to put out a variety of natural, nutritious feeding options. It's a common misconception that you only need to feed birds in winter - they will take advantage all year round - and the wider the variety of foods you provide, the more species you're likely to attract.
Installing a garden pond is a great way to boost the biodiversity of your garden. A habitat in its own right, a pond will attract everything from insects and amphibians to birds and even mammals like Hedgehogs.
Your garden will be more appealing to birds if you can satisfy their thirst as well as hunger. Indeed, providing fresh water not only offers them a drinking source, but also an opportunity for birds to bathe and keep their feathers clean. This is particularly important during spells of very cold weather, when natural sources of water may be frozen.
Along with food and drink, shelter is one of the essential things birds need to survive. Evergreen trees, such as conifers, thick bushes and hedges are ideal natural sources of shelter and will be readily used by numerous species. For smaller birds, mature ivy growing against a house wall can also provide a welcome resting space.
If your garden lacks natural shelter, you can still give options to birds by installing nest boxes. As well as providing birds with a place to raise their young in spring, nest boxes will be used to take refuge from the winter weather.
Pick your plants
The plants in your garden have a big bearing on how attractive it is to birds and how well it supports life in general. Install native plants wherever possible, as these are the plants that the UK's wildlife has evolved to live alongside and exploit for food. Foreign plant species may look attractive, but often do a lot less to support life than their native counterparts.
Some of the best plants for attracting birds are those that provide berries, which are a natural food source for birds. Installing native plants will also help to boost your garden's insect population, thus providing another source of food for birds. Take a look at our plant offering for a range of native species that can help turn your garden into a wildlife haven.
Nature thrives on disorder. Rigorously manicured lawns and rigidly managed flowerbeds simply don't cut it when it comes to supporting biodiversity. To really make your garden bird-friendly, be prepared to let at least part of it go wild. Set aside one corner of the garden and let things run their natural course. Allow the grass and weeds to grow, and you might be surprised at how quickly nature takes hold.