SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP YOUR FEATHERED FRIENDS
Site bird-feeders carefully To stop cats from having too easy a target, it is best not to hang feeders too low down, in the open on a lawn, patio or deck, or from an isolated tree. Around 5–15m from a dense hedge or shrubbery is ideal.
Don’t kill with kindness Clean your bird-feeders frequently. The build-up of old, damp, mouldy food and parasites has been shown to contribute to avian disease, affecting species such as the fast-declining greenfinch.
Create shelter Thick bushes with evergreen foliage or a mass of dense, thorny twigs give birds somewhere to hide and roost (and, later in
the year, nest). Avoid planting conifers and laurel: instead, go for holly, hawthorn, Cotoneaster and winter-flowering Viburnum.
Bridge the ‘hungry gap’ Plant late-fruiting bushes and shrubs to provide much-needed food in January to March, when autumn’s bounty of berries and seeds has long gone.
Leave that ivy alone When rambling over walls, fences and tree trunks, this unfairly maligned native plant offers valuable cover and nest sites for birds, while also sheltering numerous invertebrates. In September and October, ivy flowers are one of the best sources of late-season nectar.
Ivy provides the perfect nesting site for this wren
A fieldfare snacks on Cotoneaster berries