CAM­OU­FLAGE

Bird Watching (UK) - - Garden Birds -

You can ac­tively en­cour­age birds into your gar­den with your choice of plants. In­sect-at­tract­ing species such as Bud­dleia and Honey­suckle will also bring in in­sec­tiv­o­rous birds

Nest­boxes are the ob­vi­ous way to do this – there are dif­fer­ent styles to suit ev­ery­thing from Robins to Swifts, or even Barn Owls. But don’t stop there. If you have out­houses or sheds, species such as Wrens and Swallows may nest inside them – put up with a few drop­pings (eas­ily cleared away at the end of the breed­ing sea­son), and you’ll have the plea­sure of see­ing fam­i­lies of young birds be­ing raised in front of you. Sim­i­larly, if you have ma­ture trees with cav­i­ties in the trunks, leave them to be used as nest­holes wher­ever pos­si­ble. There’s noth­ing wrong with want­ing a tidy gar­den that’s good for chil­dren, adults and pets, but there’s no need to go overboard. Try let­ting patches grow a lit­tle wild, to en­cour­age in­sects and in­ver­te­brates that pro­vide vi­tal food for birds A por­ta­ble camo hide can be ef­fec­tive for gar­den bird pho­tog­ra­phy Au­to­matic ‘cam­era traps’ are now in­ex­pen­sive and are a great way of record­ing the wildlife in your gar­den. You can eas­ily set one or more up fo­cused on your feed­ers, or any perches that are ha­bit­u­ally used by your gar­den birds. But be­cause gar­den birds are of­ten at close range, you can also get good pho­tos your­self, with hy­brid cam­eras or even some com­pacts. You need a suit­able hide: even the gar­den shed could do the job; plus a lit­tle bit of pa­tience. Get into the habit of list­ing what you see. Not only can you then send this data to var­i­ous schemes, such as Bird­track, the BTO’S Gar­den Bird Watch, or the RSPB’S Big Gar­den Bird Watch, but you’ll also start to no­tice the sub­tle changes in your gar­den birds, both from sea­son to sea­son and over the years. Make a point of also record­ing the weather at the time of each bird­ing ses­sions, and you’ll soon learn when to ex­pect cer­tain species.

RED­WING Scruffy gar­dens are best for wildlife

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