Encyclopaedia of Birdcare
Gardening For BirdsAlthough few people are in a position to design a garden solely for the benefit of birds, most gardeners could increase the number and variety of birds attracted to their gardens by feeding birds, putting up nest boxes, and improving the attractiveness of their properties for birds. Some suggestions for achieving the latter purpose follow.
- Choose plants which provide food and shelter. Native trees are more useful than exotics, good examples being birch, rowan, pussy willow and hawthorn. Conifers are good providers of shelter, as are climbing plants such as pyracantha and honeysuckle. Berrybearing shrubs like berberis or cotoneaster are valuable, while sunflower could be considered for its seeds.
- Plant mixed-species hedges, which provide food and sites for roosting and nesting, while helping to keep out cats. Hawthorn, holly and elder could be included.
- Allow some ground cover, such as berberis and cotoneaster.
- Maintain a good lawn, which will provide access to invertebrate food for ground feeders.
- Let at least a small area of the garden grow wild, so that native flowers can develop and provide food for both seed eaters and insectivorous birds.
- Erect barriers to discourage cats and other ground-based predators.
- Provide a permanent source of water, such as a pond or fountain.
- Avoid using pesticides where possible, thus maintaining a good supply of insects and other invertebrate food.
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