While our wild garden birds should be able to fend for themselves without our help, evidence shows that they’re not managing to. The RSPB have identified a ‘serious, countrywide, decline in the numbers of many birds’, which comes mainly from a lack of suitable food sources and breeding sites. That makes it important to feed wild birds, to give them a helping hand.
On a national level, modern farming practices are the most likely culprit. Changes to global climate patterns are also having a big effect. But change always has to start somewhere and, by making our outdoor spaces more wildlife friendly, we can all do our bit to help.
Feed wild birds – it’s an easy and rewarding first step, so whether you’ve got space for a window feeder or a whole host of feeding stations, why not start now?
- Make your garden into a diverse bird friendly habitat. Plant shrubs, lawn and trees and, if you can, provide a small pond. This encourages insects, which in turn bring birds into your garden.
- Encourage birds to nest. Put up nest boxes for species such as sparrows, starlings, tits and wagtails. All these species suffer from a lack of nest holes because of our modern highly maintained buildings and our insistence on ‘cleaning up’ dead and dying trees.
- Provide suitable high quality food that appeals to a range of seed and insect eaters, not just a cheap grain mix suitable for doves, crows, pigeon and rodents. You don’t have to put a lot of food out; just try and make sure you are consistent.
Filling feeders in the morning is best because the birds have all day to work away at the food. Ideally they should have cleaned up completely by evening so there is nothing left to attract rodents overnight.
Just put out what you feel you can afford to. When they clean up, they will go off wild foraging, just as they would if you did not feed them. However, your morning offering is a welcome, nutritious and easy breakfast to set them up for the day.
Support birds with a little of each of these and you are certain to be rewarded with a glorious dawn chorus, as well as a beautiful garden for you to enjoy as well.