Birds form an important part of our local ecosystem but growing urbanisation, the effects of the climate crisis and intensive agriculture pose serious threats with many species already having gone extinct and many more being considered endangered.
There’s multiple benefits to having birds visit or nest in your garden! They help with pollination and cross-pollination of your flowers and plants, they provide a form of natural pest control by easting insects like mosquitoes, ticks, worms, beetles and even snails. Some birds also feed on weeds and the seeds of weeds thus can help stop them from spreading in your garden and pushing other flower and plant species aways. Bird manure and their dropping can also act as a natural fertiliser and help improve the health of your soil!
A great way to support your local birds is to create homes for them in your garden such as nest boxes. Follow this link for a helpful overview of different boxes for different birds, how you can build and instal them as well as how to keep them clean!
Alison Dudeney who works with the Horticultural Society enjoys feeding the birds that visit her garden “I buy suet pellets, peanuts, sultanas, sap balls, mealworms” she says. She has hanging bird feeders and a bird bath which she cleans every two weeks.
You can make your own pine cone feeder by following these simple instructions in this video
The Kent Wildlife Trust also has a great resource (including a video) summarising the main points to look out for when feeding birds including what feed to choose and how best to offer it.
This illustration is a lovely guide to making your own bird feeder!
And this illustration is an excellent guide to cleaning nest boxes and bird feeders:
While South Downs National Park Ranger Jan Knowlson feeds the birds in her garden she also says that by caring for insects and invertebrates, other wildlife (e.g predators such as birds) will come naturally as you’re providing them with food sources in a safe habitat.
Bird Nest box / Photo by Jongsun Lee on Unsplash. Other photos by Anne Roe.