How to Encourage Wildlife into Your Garden
Attracting birds into your garden can be a bit tricky, sometimes seemingly harder than eating soup with a fork! Here at Brinvale we have compiled some helpful tips and tricks we have learnt along the way to succeed in having a wildlife friendly garden.
- Grow Bird Friendly Plants
- Provide Nesting Spaces
- Supply a Variety of Bird Food
- Leave Out (Certain) Leftovers
- Provide a Water Source
Grow Bird Friendly Plants:
“Even the most humble lawn or border can become an avian haven” – Nigel Colborn, gardening expert/ writer and former presenter of the BBC’s Gardeners World.
he first tip we would recommend is to ensure the infrastructure of your garden is helping not harming you. What do we mean by this? Firstly the biggest problem most of us have is convincing the wildlife in our gardens that we are indeed friends not foes. This will take a little bit of time but what we can do to start with is providing plants that provide not only a natural food source but cover. This helps the birds feel more secure if at a moment’s notice they can flee to a nearby shrub, bush or tree from a potential predator.
The right plants will provide food and cover. Smaller birds such as wrens and dunnocks eat invertebrates so plant with these in mind. Plant shrubs that bear berries and the insects will come. Daisy flowers, or any pollinating plants such as lavender, are best as they will attract pollinating insects. Avoid hybrid plants as these are often sterile. Remember if you attract insects, you will attract birds! We stock a range of easy grow flower mixes that birds will love, have a look here...
Grass is another invaluable commodity when it comes to attracting wildlife to your garden. Blackbirds and other species will feast on worms from even the best groomed lawns. More unkempt lawns will draw a larger variety of birds. Some experts recommend leaving a section of your garden to grow into a “mini meadow” to increase seeing more varieties. Something we have achieved here at Brinvale, where we have left a section of our garden to grow wild, which attracts more insects. We like the idea of doing less to see more!
We also deliver compost directly to your door, to help you do less!
Provide Nesting Spaces:
If you encourage wildlife to visit or even stay for longer in your garden it makes sense that you are more likely to see some wildlife! So rather than just providing food if you provide a space/place to live the birds will be around a whole lot longer!
Wild birds require nesting and roosting sites as well as a healthy food supply. Different birds like different sorts of habitats: Feathered friends such as long-tailed tits and wrens nest in thicker, dense shrubbery. Other tits and spotted flycatchers will go for hollows in tree trunks or nest boxes with a smaller entry hole (around 28mm for a blue tit). Robins need an open fronted nest box or natural gaps in plants like Ivy. Song thrushes and blackbirds again need their own larger open fronted nest boxes or wall plants to settle down in. A great wall plant to consider is the pyracantha, pictured below. Not only providing a great shelter but the berries will go down very well with any blackbirds. With the right home and food source you will find that they don’t need to travel far away!
You can view our range of nesting boxes here. We stock a massive variety to cater for birds from robins, wrens, tits, woodpeckers and blackbirds!
Remember, different birds eat different foods. Much like people from different cultures, birds come from far afield and are used to eating different things.
The most popular foods are sunflower hearts, peanuts, suet, insects and various seeds.
Most birds will eat sunflower hearts although it is an absolute favourite of goldfinches, chaffinches, great tits and many more. Blue tits, long tailed tits and woodpeckers love peanuts. Robins and blackbirds are far more likely to be found by the suet and insects. Birds such as linnets and sparrows though will favour seeds, so it really does depend on the bird!
Feeding all year round is now recommended as birds will move on if they feel their food supply as dried out. So a little each day will go far, and just like with humans the better quality food will always go down better! Watch the video below to see how our bird food is favoured compared to a cheaper supplier.
Another tip to remember is to try out different ways of feeding the same food. For example take peanuts. You can feed these as a straight, or as part of a mix, as peanut butter (specially formulated for birds not peanut butter for human consumption) or as granules. Some birds will prefer one method, others another. The best thing you can do is give it a try, or you can always call us for more advice, our number is 01664 823230.
It’s the same with suet. You can find suet in pellets, blocks, balls, logs, in mixes and even in coconuts!
As well as supplying food made specifically for birds you can leave out some of your own leftovers. It is important to know what you can and can’t feed to wild birds though. The best way to think about it is the more natural and nutritious the food the better.
So for example berries and vegetables like potatoes are absolutely fine. But processed foods like chocolate, crisps and cooked animal fats are not. Even bread which most birds will eat is not recommended as it doesn’t contain any nutritional value and can become mouldy very quickly which can make birds sick. One food that you can surprisingly feed to wild birds with great success is cheese, robins in particular love it! For more advice about what you can and can’t feed wild birds you can read more here...
This is actually a biggie! Providing a clean water supply is crucial. It can be harder in some areas of the country for birds to find a clean water supply than food. Having a bird bath/table which you keep clean and refresh the water in will make your garden more popular with wild birds.
Using a cleaner such as our ready to use spray is proven to be a safe, easy and effective way to keep your bird baths, drinkers and feeders clean.