Turning a garden into a haven for birds

Encouraging birds to feed, nest and breed in a garden is easy and rewarding, says consumer watchdog Gardening Which?

A lack of food and warmth means the winter months are the ideal time to encourage birds into the garden.

In the first of a new series, which will cover the UK’s best-loved birds, Gardening Which? looks at practical ways to attract and look after three of our most regular garden visitors – the wren, the robin and the sparrow.

Feeding gives a much-needed boost for the breeding season and rearing young. And offering a variety of food is essential, as different bird species have different food preferences.

When erecting a bird table, Gardening Which? recommends avoiding fancy designs and opting for a simple flat table with a lip to retain the food. Ideally, feeding should take place twice a day, once first thing in the morning and then again in early afternoon.

Birds will build their own nests in hedges, shrub beds and thick growths of ivy. However, the wren, robin and the sparrow can all be tempted into man-made boxes if they are constructed and positioned correctly.

Julia Boulton, Editor, Gardening Which? said: “Caring for birds, particularly in the winter months, is a simple way to bring the beauty of nature into even the smallest garden.

“The sparrow population has dropped alarmingly over the past thirty years. By understanding their behaviour a little better and following a few simple tips, anyone can play a part in protecting the future of some of Britain’s most-loved birds.”

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