Every space, from a grand estate to your back garden, can be a home for nature — but what can you do to create a welcoming environment for our feathered friends?
Making your garden a bird-friendly paradise needn’t be difficult or imposing. Indeed, a well-measured approach means you can share your outdoor space in complete harmony with the UK’s beautiful birdlife population.
There are lots of simple changes that can make your garden accessible to local birds. In this article, we explore the following five steps towards creating a bird-friendly garden:ste
- Nurture space to forage and feed
- Create a clean water source
- Ensure birds have sufficient shelter
- Garden organically and think sustainably
- Leave discovered nests undisturbed
Read on and create a window to nature by welcoming local birdlife into your garden.
1. Nurture space to forage and feed
The National History Museum reports the United Kingdom leads the world in destroying the natural environment — a damning indictment that has triggered the loss of more than 40 million birds from our skies since 1970.
Alongside water and sufficient shelter, which we’ll get to later, the loss of these birds is in no small part because of the limited range our feathered friends have to forage and feed. With this in mind, it’s first vital that your garden provides the essential nutrition needed for birds to flourish and thrive.
How can you nurture space to forage and feed in your garden? Well, creating an attractive feeding spot for birds is about having an environment that provides a variety of food and nourishment. Here’s how:
Supplement foraging with a buffet. Bird tables are great for a bird-friendly garden, supplying our feathered friends with essential nourishment and giving you a great view. A hanging bird table from RSPB — Royal Society for Protection of Birds — is particularly useful for cramped residential areas where plants are scarce, but they also look rather aesthetically pleasing hanging from a tree branch.
Wondering what to put on a hanging bird table? Well, Niall Hatch, a spokesperson for BirdWatch Ireland, spoke to The Independent, recommending a halved apple is a fantastic treat to keep birds visiting your garden.
Create organic feeding spots for a natural lunch. Berry bushes and fruit trees provide seasonal nourishment, while an array of nectar-rich flowers creates a paradise for insects, which can nourish your bird population all year round.
2. Create a clean water source
As natural habitats decrease in favour of housing and large concrete jungles, finding a reliable, clean water source often proves difficult for the UK’s bird population, particularly during the arid summer months of recent years — or especially cold winters when natural water sources are frozen over and inaccessible.
Creating a clean and reliable water source in your garden is essential for providing a welcoming habitat for local birds. After all, birds need water for drinking and bathing.
Birds have no sweat glands, meaning they require less water than your average mammal. That said, they do lose fluids through respiration and droppings, requiring them to bathe and hydrate around twice a day.
With this in mind, keeping water clean is needed to prevent the spread of disease in the local bird population. You can do this without using chemicals, simply replacing the water and scrubbing off algae and grime will suffice.
3. Ensure there is sufficient shelter
Secure shelter is vital for attracting birdlife into your garden. Why? Because birds need a safe space to sleep and breed, away from predators and torrential weather.
Your garden can provide shelter in many ways, including:
- Climbing plants
- Trees, bushes, and hedgerows
- Bird boxes
- Deadwood, trimmings, and old foliage
- Wild grass
Ensuring you provide a variety of shelters for our feathered friends means you give them a home in your garden where they feel comfortable and safe from predators.
4. Garden organically and think sustainably
Keeping things natural is key for attracting all wildlife — and this extends to your gardening habits as embracing nature is about minimising your impact on your garden.
While letting your foliage grow wild isn’t necessary, keeping things natural and organic is essential for creating a bird-friendly garden. Here are some examples of what organic gardening could look like in your garden:
- Making your own peat using composters
- Using less water by catching rainwater in water butts
- Planting only native plants and flowers in your garden
- Refraining from using chemical fertilizers and pesticides
From teasing plant growth to removing pests, it’s often tempting to cut corners for a quick fix. But if you want to create a bird-friendly garden, organic gardening is the best way to provide safe shelter and quality nutrition for our feathered friends.
5. Leave discovered nests undisturbed
So you’ve nurtured a bird-friendly habitat in your garden and are fortunate enough to discover a nest — what happens next? Well, you must leave the nest well alone.
Disturbing the nest can scare chicks or spook their mother enough to fly away. Plus, the scent of a human is incredibly strong and can easily attract predators such as a fox to the location of the nest.
Moreover, if you have house pets like dogs and cats who regularly visit the garden, you should look to discourage them from rummaging around the nest or climbing trees. This will further protect the birds’ habitat in what can be a rather pivotal moment of fight or flight.
Turning your garden into a bird-friendly paradise needn’t be difficult or imposing. From nurturing space to forage and feed to taking a more organic approach to gardening — this is how to create a home for birds in your back garden.