• IN A COUNTRY GARDEN
Provide food and shelter, and watch native birds flock to your gardens. Here's how...
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.