If you are designing your garden to create a really bird-friendly landscape then there are a number of factors to take into account. The aim is to recreate the natural landscape where the birds live, as far as possible, so they feel at home in your habitat.
Try heading out to a park or natural space and look at the types of plants which grow in the areas where the birds are living, so that you can mimic this approach in your own garden when you get home.
We asked the experts of Littlepeckers.co.uk and here are our top tips for designing a bird-friendly garden:
- Recreate the natural landscape
Have a look at the layers of plants which grow in natural landscapes, from the ground level up, and try to recreate this type of layered effect in your own garden. Most natural landscapes have ground cover, bushes and shrubs and then a tree canopy, all providing natural shelter and safety for birds.
- Choose plants which help to feed birds
Most people think about feeding birds with bird feeders in the winter but if you really want to create a bird-friendly garden you should look to plant bushes and shrubs which can provide food all year round.
Birds need food for their chicks in the spring and summer months so think about fruit trees and shrubs with berries, as well as plants with nectar. That way there will be food in your garden for birds all year.
- Limit your lawn and provide shrubs instead
A huge open lawn space will not help to attract birds which prefer areas of shrubs and shelter to feel safe. Limit your lawn to a small area and plant clumps of shrubs together so that birds can hide within them and also feed off the berries which they will provide.
- Stick to native plants
Make sure you stick to native plants and avoid any invasive species which could take over your garden and end up causing more harm than good. This is another good reason for seeing what grows naturally in parks and other natural environments so that you can plant the same species.
- Provide water for the birds
A sure-fire way to attract birds into your garden is to provide them with a regular and safe supply of water which they can use for both drinking and bathing. This can be in the form of a bird bath, a bowl or a water feature which birds can access. Make sure the water is safely out of the reach of predators so it is not putting the birds at risk.
- Set up nest boxes
Birds often struggle to find suitable trees to make their nests in so creating safe nesting box areas will really help to make your garden bird-friendly. They need to be in a place where they are sheltered from bad weather and also inaccessible by predators.
Make sure the nesting boxes have small enough entrance holes to prevent squirrels and other predators from getting into them, to encourage birds to use them and feel safe. You should also provide trees and shrubs for natural protection.
- Provide ground feed for birds
Make sure to provide feed for birds which like to rummage in the ground so have some bark covering areas or leaf litter areas where birds can rummage through and eat insects and worms which live underneath. A nice spot under a tree in the shade will see this type of area naturally develop if you don’t rake away all the leaves each time they fall.
- Avoid using pesticides and chemicals
For a really bird-friendly landscape, it’s important to keep it as natural as possible so avoid using pesticides as these will kill off all the insects the birds need to feed upon and can also harm the birds as well.
Use chemicals like lawn feed and plant feed sparingly as well and try to keep everything in your garden as natural as possible to encourage the birds and to help keep them happy and healthy.
Creating a bird-friendly garden landscape just takes a little planning and a lot of copying from nature to be truly effective. By mimicking the landscape in nearby parks and open spaces which birds are already living in you will go a long way to attracting them into your garden.
Providing them with everything they need to live including natural year-round food sources, water supply and safe and secure nesting areas will help to keep the birds coming back and living in your garden regularly, all year round.
Watching birds flitting around your garden can be incredibly relaxing for you and by creating a bird-friendly space you will be supporting local wildlife in a simple and easy way, throughout all the seasons.