Countryfile Magazine - - Garden Birds -

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

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