How to encourage birds close to your home
Birds are so important. They help pollinate our flowers and crops, spread seeds, and control pest species. And, by observing birds, we can feel more connected to nature which is known to improve our mental health and wellbeing.
However, as with much of nature, birds are under threat. In fact, the RSPB found that 16 of the top 20 species of garden birds in the UK have seen population declines. The good news is that there are simple things we can do at home and in our neighbourhoods to give birds a helping hand. Attracting birds closer to where you live can be easy, no matter how much outdoor space you have around you. So, here’s some top tips for encouraging birds in your area and spending more time surrounded by nature!
The easiest way to encourage birds close to home is by installing bird feeders. You can get lots of different types and some are more suited to certain species of birds than others. For example, suet balls are great for robins looking for food during the winter, while meal worm feeders are loved by blackbirds. Why not try a couple of different ones to attract a variety of birds to your outdoor space? Or if you don’t have much space to work with, you can even get feeders that stick to windows! If you’re feeling creative, you could try making your own bird feeders out of cardboard tubes - a great activity to do with children! You can find out more about the different types of bird feeders on the RSPB website.
Plants and flowers
Another way we can feed birds is by planting hedges and trees that produce berries for birds to eat, and by allowing our grassland to produce wildflowers to attract insects for birds. You could put potted flowers on a balcony or small courtyard if you don’t have any garden space to use.
Like us, birds also need a refreshing drink as well as a good meal. To help out a thirsty bird you could do something as small as putting out a bowl of water or go the extra mile by adding out a bird table or creating a pond. Make sure you replace the water regularly so that it’s clean and free of any ice.
Giving birds a home
Birds need somewhere safe and secure to build a nest and lay eggs. Why not try installing a bird box in your garden, on your balcony, or local outdoor space? This will provide birds with shelter from predators and places to build a home, and there are lots of different types of bird box to choose from. Birds of course also use trees, shrubs, and hedges to nest in. We already avoid cutting shrubs and hedges in the nesting season, but by planting more trees and cutting hedges less frequently we can provide birds with a home.
Get involved in the Big Garden Birdwatch
The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is taking place this weekend (27-29 January) and is a fun way to get outside and see how many different types of birds you can spot. Counting birds from your garden, balcony or local park will help scientists monitor how birds in the UK are doing and create a plan to help them recover. Find out more about how to get involved below and let us know what birds you spot in outdoor space!