• IN A COUN­TRY GAR­DEN

Pro­vide food and shel­ter, and watch na­tive birds flock to your gar­dens. Here's how...

Country Homes & Interiors - - CONTENTS -

Spot and care for our na­tive birds

Birds bring mu­sic, life and colour to our gar­dens, but sadly we’ve seen a no­table de­cline in their num­bers. Ac­cord­ing to the RSPB, over 40 mil­lion birds have van­ished from UK skies in just 50 years. Cli­mate change is tak­ing its toll and birds are hav­ing to change their mi­gra­tion routes or be forced to nest at dif­fer­ent times due to the lack of avail­able food. But there are things we can do on a mi­cro level to help. Visit rspb.org.uk/get-in­volved

BLACK­BIRD

Male black­birds live up to their name, al­though fe­males are browner in colour. They are great at pulling big juicy worms out of the ground and will also eat sun­flower hearts, dried and live meal­worms, suet cake and fruity nib­bles.

BLUE TIT

A hy­per­ac­tive lit­tle bird spot­ted mostly in trees rather than on the ground. They will nest in wooden boxes and feed on cater­pil­lars, as well as suet and fat balls.

Star­ling

A com­mon gar­den bird, star­lings spend much of their time in flocks and are first in the queue look­ing for worms in the grass af­ter a wet night. They eat most seed mixes, from sun­flower hearts to suet cake, from feed­ers and off the ground.

Robin

The robin, with its dis­tinc­tive red breast, wears the crown of be­ing Bri­tain’s favourite bird. Pro­vide an open-fronted nest box and watch them line it with leaves, grass, moss, roots and hu­man hair, ready for egg lay­ing.

Goldfinch

These beau­ties bring vi­brant colour to our gar­dens, us­ing their tweezer-like bills to ex­tract seed from this­tles, teasels and dan­de­lions. They nest high in trees and use grass, moss and wool to build a home.

House spar­row

Noisy and out­go­ing, these cheer­ing lit­tle birds make their home in holes and crevices of build­ings and read­ily use nest boxes. They eat seeds and scraps and will ap­pre­ci­ate sun­flower hearts and suet balls in feed­ers and on ta­bles.

3 tips for at­tract­ing birds

Birds need to drink as well as eat, so give your­self an arm­chair view of a bird­bath and keep your cam­era handy. 2 Un­tidy bor­ders will act as mag­nets, so leave dead heads on plants to at­tract chaffinche­s and green­finches.

3 Don’t clear up all the fallen leaves, so car­niv­o­rous birds, such as robins and black­birds can for­age for mini beasts.

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