gb supp 2018 (1)

builtmagazine

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

CREATE THE

PERFECT BIRD

GARDEN

l Tips to help nesting birds

l Essential jobs for spring

l Attract other wildlife


Size 24 cm; Wingspan 36 cm; Weight 100 g

Food: Invertebrates, especially

Clutch size: 3–4 eggs

Incubation: 13–14 days

Young fledge: 12–15 days

O

S

A

D J

N F

J

J

M

M

A

population now found in urban and suburban habitats. Garden

BirdWatch data show that Blackbirds use gardens seasona ly, with

wider countryside. The rest of the year their diet mainly consists

of insects and earthworms but they have also been known to eat

newts and fish from ponds.

Blackbirds build their untidy cup nests most often in trees and

bushes but wi l also use a variety of other situations including

ledges, log piles and even open-fronted nest boxes. Nests

towns and vi lages are more productive than those in woodland

and appear to begin their breeding season somewhat earlier. It is

with other thrush species, such as Redwing and Fieldfare.

FP_BIRDSPA4_BirdWatchiid3413147.pdf 16.03.2018 17:01

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BTO GARDEN BIRDWATCH

Do you watch your

garden birds?

Be part of the UK’s largest year-round

garden bird survey

JOIN NOW for just £17 a year, and receive Bird Table magazine and the

fact-packed book Garden Birds and other wildlife, worth £14.99.

Garden Birds

Kate Risely and Clare Simm

and other wildlife

154 BTO Garden Birds

Blackbird, by John Harding

Blackbird

Turdus merula

One of our most familiar birds, the Blackbird is a species that has adapted particularly we l to the garden

enviroment. Part of this success stems from the fact that the Blackbird is a bird of woodland edges, a

habitat which our gardens resemble in many of their key features – such as scattered trees and bushes,

and areas of lawn.

Spotlight

Green-listed

A garden success

Origina ly a woodland bird, from the 19 th century Blackbirds

shifted into gardens and farmland, with a large proportion of their

earthworms. Fruit taken in autumn

and winter.

a marked reduction in numbers in autumn due to secrecy during

their moult, and then the search for autumn fruit and seeds in the

Breeding behaviour

Breeds: March to July

are usua ly positioned within some cover to reduce the risk of

predation and the impact of adverse weather. Birds nesting in

Blackbird nest and eggs, by Herbert & Howe ls

Number of broods: 2–3 per year

Population: 4.9 mi lion pairs

Max lifespan: 14 years, 9 months

Typical lifespan: 3 years

Garden reporting rate: 98%

thought that the increased productivity in urban areas is due to

the lower rate of nest predation in gardens (50%) compared to

woodland (80%). They will have two to three broods a year to

increase their overa l breeding output.

Both sexes are territorial during the breeding season. They

usually defend their territory through display and calls, but

occasiona ly short, violent fights wi l occur. Birds from different

pairs may be seen together in feeding areas outside breeding

territories but even here there can be some degree of tension

between individuals. In the winter, however, Blackbirds are more

gregarious, often feeding together in sma l flocks and associating

QUOTE ‘BIRDWATCHING’

01842 750050

www.bto.org/gbw-join


WELCOME

incamerastock/Alamy

After what felt like a long, long winter, I’m sure I’m

not alone in being relieved to be able to get back out

into the garden, getting my hands dirty. After

working hard to create a wildlife-friendly garden

a couple of years ago, there’s plenty to be done to keep the

birds and other creatures coming back.

We hope this free magazine will help you do just that. As

well as tips on high-priority jobs for spring, we’ve taken a

look at some of the commonest garden visitors, and exactly

what they need to survive and thrive. Two are of particular

interest to me. I’m keeping an eye on the nestbox in which

Blue Tits successfully raised a brood last year, and they’re

showing every sign of returning. And I’m on tenterhooks as

to whether House Martins will use the boxes I put up. They

took a look last year – will they go a step further this time?

Whatever happens, I’m looking forward to seeing what

arrives next, and we’ve also got ideas from the BTO on

putting your garden sightings to good use

(on page 21). So, give wildlife gardening a

try, and enjoy the results of your hard work.

The birds will.

CONTENTS

P5

Essential gardening tasks for spring

P10

How to help garden-nesting birds

Matt Merritt,

Editor

CREATE THE PERFECT BIRD GARDEN

is proudly sponsored by

P17

Give other garden wildlife a boost

P21

Making the most of a wildlife garden

Main cover image: T.M.O.Birds/Alamy

birdwatching.co.uk 3


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WILDLIFE-

FRIENDLY

GARDENING

in spring and summer

If you’ve already started to create a bird and

wildlife-friendly garden, the arrival of spring is

when it really starts to pay off

With luck, your nestboxes will be

occupied, and the insects that

you’ve provided habitat for will be

a vital source of food for the young

birds raised in them.

You’ll remember to keep your feeders and bird

baths topped up throughout the spring and summer

(this allows adult birds to spend more of their time

finding food for the youngsters), and you can sit

back and reflect on a job well done.

Well, you deserve to relax, but May through to

October is still a busy time for the wildlife gardener.

Keep on top of the tasks below, and your garden

will be a haven for wildlife throughout the year.

Tomáš Florián/Alamy*

birdwatching.co.uk 5


MAY

This is a busy month for any gardener,

with frosts well and truly gone, and warm

daytime temperatures.

l Prepare your beds for planting flowers,

shrubs and vegetables by digging them over,

weeding and adding compost if necessary.

This will have side benefits for garden birds that

eat worms, as they’ll be easier to find. Robins

are the best example, of course – their

behaviour around gardeners actually mimics

what they would do with Wild Boar as the large

mammals turn over earth.

l Try planting perennial flowers, which return

year after year, to add colour and to attract

insects. If you haven’t planted

wild flower seed (some species

need to be sown as early as the

previous October), don’t worry

– pot-grown wild flowers are

available at many garden

centres. Make sure you

water them in well, and

keep them moist.

l Prune springflowering

shrubs such

as Forsythia after they

have flowered.

l Plant herbs, herbaceous

plants, and container-grown

shrubs, and make up your hanging baskets.

l Sow salad vegetables, cabbages, etc.,

outdoors. If you have to take measures to

prevent birds from eating too many

(Woodpigeons can be very fond

of peas, for example), don’t use

netting that the birds could get

their feet tangled in – 4cm

netting should be fine,

stretched taut, and you can also

hang up old CDs to act as

bird-scarers (the artist is

irrelevant, of course, but we found

Cliff Richard’s do the trick).

Wiert Nieuman/Alamy

Tim Gainey/Alamy*

Anne Gilbert/Alamy*

Arterra Picture Library; Rob James*/Alamy

JUNE

This is when you may start to notice insect 'pests' such as greenfly

and other aphids on some plants.

You need to avoid spraying them, as pesticides kill 'helpful'

insects such as ladybirds (which are themselves great

controllers of aphids and similar pests), and could

also harm those bird species such as Blue Tits

which feed on the tiny insects.

If such pests are really damaging your plants,

try washing them off with a dilute solution of

washing-up liquid. You may need to repeat this

from time to time, but it is a wildlife-friendly solution.

JULY

Water is vital for the summer garden, of

course. Pot plants will need to be watered

regularly – daily if there’s no rain – and

borders will also need water, so this might be

the time to invest in a rainwater butt. With

water an increasingly precious resource, it

will enable you to keep your garden green

without guilt. Remember, though, to fit

a lid (if your butt fills from a drainpipe), or

a fine mesh, to prevent small animals and

birds from becoming trapped in it.

Looking further ahead, consider planting

Mediterranean plants such as Lavender,

Cistus, Helianthemum (Rock Rose),

Rosemary, Spanish Broom, Salvias, Lambs'

Ears, and Aubrietia – these are used to a

drier climate, and cope well with drought

and generally lower rainfall.

Apply mulch to borders after rain – this

helps retain moisture.

LAMBS' EARS

AUBRIETA

SPANISH BROOM

HELIANTHEMUM

T-B: Christopher Burrows*; Geoff Smith; Wieslaw Jarek; flowerphotos* all Alamy

Arcaid Images/Alamy*

6 Create the Perfect Bird Garden 2018


AUGUST

Shrubs and trees come into their own as the

summer draws on, and provide colour as

autumn arrives. The likes of Lavatera, Hebe,

Viburnum and Escallonia flower in summer

and are ideal here.

Start to let flowers (especially wild flowers),

plus a few vegetables, run to seed to provide

food for birds, and leave any windfall fruit for

Blackbirds and thrushes to feed on.

You may have been doing so all summer,

but leave a patch of lawn unmowed, as

this will both help insects, and

provide some seed food. If you

choose somewhere next to a wild

flower patch, sow Yellow Rattle

along the divide between the

flowers and grass – this grass

parasite prevents it from spreading.

ESCALLONIA HEBE VIBURNUM LAVATERA

Clockwise from left: blickwinkel; imageBROKER*; Martin Hughes-Jones*; Rex May*; Stephanie Jackson

- Gardens and flowers collection. All Alamy

Right: RM Floral*. Above: EDMUND SUMNER*. Both Alamy

SEPTEMBER

Autumn is when gardeners traditionally do

much of their clearing up, but if you’ve got

a wildlife garden, try

to delay things a bit

(we often get good

weather late in October,

so there’s still time).

Leave seedheads, especially

on plants such as teasels,

thistles and sunflowers, for

species such as Goldfinches.

Allow vegetation to die back

naturally, as this can help birds to

find food and shelter throughout

the winter.

Weeds and their seeds can be vital

in providing food for species such as

House Sparrows and finches, and

many also have attractive flowers for

pollinators, so try to avoid too much

weeding, but you can pull out any

particularly harmful ones by hand.

Now’s the time to plan your

borders for next year, and by

the end of the month you

should be planting any

herbaceous perennials and

container-grown plants – there

should be plenty of rain, and the soil is still

warm, giving them a chance to establish

themselves before winter.

Neil Walker/Alamy

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Help your

GARDEN

NESTING BIRDS

What some of our

most common

garden nesters may

be up to this month

BLACKBIRD

Our most common and familiar thrush is

so well known it doesn't even have

‘thrush’ in its name. Abundant and

present on just about every lawn. Males

are black with an orange-yellow bill and

eye-ring. Females are dark brown and

a bit spotty, betraying their thrush genes.

SPRING ANTICS

Males sing one of the most beautiful

songs of all British birds, especially at

dawn and dusk. Fluty and rich, with

complex phrasing (lacking the repetition

of the Song Thrush’s ditty). Females may

be seen gathering moss and small twigs

to make a nest.

NEST TYPE

Classic cup-like nest of twigs and moss

concealed in a bush or hedge. May use

open-fronted nestboxes or equally use the

nestbox roof as a platform for a nest.

How you can help

Don’t trim bushes or hedges during the

breeding season. Keep cats indoors or

away from the lawn and with no access to

possible nests.

Tim Gainey/Alamy*

ROBIN

Everyone knows the Robin, our

‘almost official’ national bird. Males

and females look the same. It is only

during the breeding season that you

will see two Robins tolerating each

other’s presence in the garden.

SPRING ANTICS

Though both sexes sing in the winter,

it is just the males that sing their

delightful ‘liquid silver’ song during

the spring (including at night time in

some cases). The pair will become

defensive of the territory, seeing off

intruders. You may even see some

feeding of the female by the male on

completion of the nest.

NEST TYPE

They nest in concealed hollows in

natural spaces or any cavity they can

find (in an old boot or kettle!); though

will take to open-fronted nest boxes.

How you can help

Don’t disturb nesting Robins. As with

Blackbirds, try to prevent cats from

attacking the youngsters. Keep providing

bird food and water.

Dave Watts/Alamy*

10 Create the Perfect Bird Garden 2018


HOUSE

SPARROW

The abundant, ubiquitous sparrow is not

quite as abundant and ubiquitous as it

once was. They are still very common

birds, though, in many gardens.

SPRING ANTICS

Now, male House Sparrows are looking at

their brightest, with a larger black ‘bib’

and cleaner white cheeks. Contrary to

many people’s expectations male House

Sparrows do have a sort of ‘song’; though

this consists largely of repeated chirrups

with the head and tail somewhat cocked.

You may see them gather nest material

such as straw to take to a nest cavity.

NEST TYPE

Concealed within a roof space or nest

box. Will sometimes take to nest boxes

with hole fronts.

How you can help

SWIFT

One of our strangest and most exotic

birds is also one of our most ‘domestic’,

in that nearly all nest sites are in

buildings. Unlike most of our garden

breeders, the quality of the roof (or

nestbox) is much more important than

the available food in the garden (Swifts

will forage a long way from the nest site).

SPRING ANTICS

The mad screaming of chasing Swifts is

one of the great evocative sounds of a

British summer. Pairs will flirt and mate

on the wing; after all, Swifts do just

about everything in their lives (apart

from nesting) in the air!

NEST TYPE

Concealed within roof space (with

enough space for the adults to come in

and out), or will use suitable Swift nest

boxes, which are deep cavities with an

open sideways letterbox type of opening.

Toby Houlton/Alamy*

One reason mooted for House Sparrow

declines is too efficient insulation and

sealing of roof spaces. So, perhaps tolerate

small gaps in the roof. Or, provide nest

boxes, which are similar to Great Tit boxes.

How you can help

Put nestboxes under the eaves; if there are

Swifts checking out your area. You could

play Swift calls on a loop to attract birds;

but you'll need tolerant neighbours!

George Reszeter/Alamy*

birdwatching.co.uk 11


HOUSE MARTIN

Like the House Sparrow and Swift, the

House Martin’s nests are nearly always

on human buildings. Unlike the former

two species, though, they don’t require

cavities in roof spaces, but just an

overhanging eave or similar on which

to build their dome-like mud nest.

SPRING ANTICS

House Martins nest in loose colonies,

often near where there is plenty of easily

accessible soft mud for nest-building. In

spring, you can see them gathering

gobbets of mud from the edge of muddy

pools etc., to plaster onto the wall. It can

take a week or two to make a nest.

NEST TYPE

Although they prefer sites near to

accessible mud supplies, House Martins

will also take to ready-made House

Martin nestboxes, placed under eaves.

How you can help

COLLARED

DOVE

Gracing UK’s suburbs and rural

communities since arriving naturally in

the 1950s, the Collared Dove is now

ubiquitous and common across the whole

of the country.

SPRING ANTICS

Males produce the three-note cooing

song, often for extended periods. Pairs

may ‘bill and coo’ and bow to the other

prior to mating. Twigs are gathered to

build the nest.

NEST TYPE

Collared Dove nests are among the most

flimsy and pathetic-looking structures,

being rather loose associations of twigs.

May be concealed within a tree (eg a

leylandii), but often reasonably obvious!

Mark Bretherton/Alamy*

Put up nestboxes. Encourage your

neighbours to welcome House Martins

and under no circumstances put up those

terrible spikes some people place under

their eaves to stop House Martin ‘mess’!

How you can help

Try not to disturb nesting Collared Doves

and certainly don’t trim their nesting trees,

during the breeding season. Keep an eye

on your local pair and work out where they

are trying to nest; then leave them space.

Keep feeding garden birds.

Buiten-Beeld/Alamy

12 Create the Perfect Bird Garden 2018


GREAT TIT

The ubiquitous Great Tit is one of our

most familiar garden birds, as well as

one of the easiest to attract to gardens

to nest.

SPRING ANTICS

Males can be told from females in

being slightly brighter in colour and

with a black belly stripe which is wide

and reaches down to the lower belly.

The female's is narrower and it fizzles

out on the belly. In spring, males

produce a variety of repetitive

‘two-note’ songs roughly transcribed

as ‘teacher teacher’.

NEST TYPE

Great Tits nest in cavities in trees and

readily take to nestboxes with a hole

front (diameter of hole: 28mm). They

will also nest in any concealed hole

they can find and get into.

How you can help

STARLING

The Starling is another bird which

has undergone dramatic national

population declines in the UK, but is

still going strong in some areas.

SPRING ANTICS

Males (pale blue base to bill; female’s

have a paler, pinker bill base) sing

their incredible songs in spring. Full of

clicks, mimicry and wizardry, the

complex song sounds like more than

one bird must be producing it. Often

sung from a rooftop or aerial. Starlings

gather ‘straw’ and other material to

build the nest which is within a cavity.

NEST TYPE

Starlings nest ‘colonially’ in roof

spaces and holes in trees etc., or in

open fronted nestboxes, even taking

over ones provided for Swifts!

Genevieve Vallee/Alamy*

Put up suitable nest boxes. As with other

garden birds, Great Tits respond well to

extra feeding, throughout the year, not

just the winter. Don't feed them on foods

such as stale bread, though.

How you can help

Put out suitable nest boxes. Keep feeding

your garden birds. Traditionally, Starlings

were regarded as 'bullies' of the bird table.

But with hugely declining numbers,

remember that even these garrulous

garden birds need a bit of help.

Mats Lindberg/Alamy *

birdwatching.co.uk 13


BLUE TIT

Rivalling the Great Tit for the easiest

bird to attract to a garden nestbox, the

Blue Tit is a familiar character across

most of the country.

SPRING ANTICS

Males can, with care, be distinguished

from females by having a reduced blue

cap, with more white on the forehead.

They perform a lovely ‘parachuting’

display flight after a brief trill, seemingly

flying in slow-mo and gliding on spread

wings to impress his mate. The pair

spend a lot of time adding moss, etc., to

the nest, which is most frequently in a

hole-fronted nestbox in gardens.

NEST TYPE

Most garden Blue Tits nest in nestboxes,

with a 25mm diameter hole. They will,

however, nest in any suitable cavity.

How you can help

GREENFINCH

Sadly, partly due to the spread of

a disease which has been linked to

unclean feeding environments,

Greenfinches, like many smaller birds

in the UK, have undergone a big

population crash. Once very common,

now they are more localised.

SPRING ANTICS

One of the great treats of a sunny spring

day in the suburbs is watching the

‘butterfly’ display flight of the

Greenfinch. Only the males do it, while

singing their twittering songs. They also

produce a wheezy, drawn-out nasal note,

often from a high tree or roof.

NEST TYPE

Greenfinches make a cup-like nest

of twigs and grass lined with fur

within a dense bush or shrub. They

nest ‘colonially’.

Wildscotphotos/Alamy*

Put up suitable nestboxes! Though

they will find thousands of caterpillars by

themselves (which they need to feed

the youngsters), a bit of supplementary

feeding for the adults is, as usual,

recommended.

How you can help

Provide suitable nesting shrubs and, of

course, don’t trim your bushes during the

breeding season. And, as usual, keep

putting out food for the birds (but keep

the feeding area clean and disinfected).

Richard Pittam/Alamy

14 Create the Perfect Bird Garden 2018


DUNNOCK

The unobtrusive Dunnock is legendary

for its breeding antics. Having spent most

of the winter hopping around being

ignored, their complex sex lives come to

life in a big way in the spring.

SPRING ANTICS

Dunnocks employ as many strategies

for pairings and beyond, as you could

imagine. In spring they seem to spend

an inordinate amount of time chasing

each other and flicking their wings,

not to mention males pecking at

females' cloacas! The males make a

pleasing warbling ditty, often from the

top of a hedge.

NEST TYPE

Built by the female, the best is a cup

made of twigs and moss, lined with hair,

within a dense bush or hedge.

How you can help

WREN

The UK’s commonest bird is abundant

wherever there is suitable cover, though

it is not always obvious (as it is tiny,

quick and finds cover easily). If you

know its voice, though, you will notice

them everywhere, probably even in

your garden.

SPRING ANTICS

Wrens produce an amazingly loud and

powerful song for such a small

creature! Males blast out their ultra-fast

ditty made up of fast trills and warbles

with increased frequency in spring. As

they sing, you may see them wagging

their tail slowly from side to side.

NEST TYPE

Males make a ball-like nest within a

cavity in a shed or a hole in a wall or

a tree. They will also take readily to

nestboxes either of the open-fronted

type or the hole-fronted tit-box style.

FLPA/Alamy *

Don’t cut back hedges during the

breeding season. Dunnocks do much of

their feeding on the lawn or at least at

ground level, so make sure that cats are

kept under control, especially during the

breeding season.

How you can help

Put out nestboxes. Also don’t make your

garden too tidy, as Wrens like nooks and

crannies. Wrens will feed on food such as

mealworms put out for them.

FLPA/Alamy*

birdwatching.co.uk 15


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1 MAKE A BEE HOTEL

Help our pollinators by

putting up bee homes.

Those for solitary bees,

consisting of tubes and

tunnels within boxes,

work particularly well. But

you don’t even have to

buy one – cut the top off

a plastic 2-litre pop bottle,

then stuff it with

corrugated cardboard,

twigs, bamboo, etc.

South-facing positions,

hanging at chest height or

above, are best. Bees

usually colonise these

homes in spring.

Arterra Picture Library/Alamy

CREATURE COMFORTS

and how you can provide them

To attract more birds to your garden, a holistic approach, encouraging all sorts of

wildlife, pays dividends. During spring and summer, there are plenty of things you

can do to improve your garden for all sorts of creatures

Jerome Murray - CC/Alamy

2

HELP A 'HOG

Hedgehogs need your help even during the warmer months. For a start, they have

young to feed, and also need plenty of food themselves as they forage. Don’t put out

bread or milk, as people often used to – good quality cat or dog food is far better, or raw

minced meat mixed with raw egg.

Paul Cumberland/Alamy

3

CREATE A WOODPILE

These give shelter to small invertebrates

such as centipedes and ground

beetles, which then eat

slugs and other garden

pests at night. Even

a small pile of

twigs can pay

off. Start

building it

early in the

spring, and

by the end of

the summer

you’ll also

have a habitat

in which insects

can shelter during

the winter.

birdwatching.co.uk 17


4

ENCOURAGE INSECTS

Hoverflies and ladybirds are good garden ‘pestcatchers’,

and hoverflies do not sting even though they

look similar to wasps. Marigolds can be planted to attract

them. But wasps themselves can also play a part – they

are good controllers of many garden 'pests', including

flies and grubs, as well as being useful pollinators of flowers.

5

BUILD A BAT BOX

By June, bats will be

breeding. While eaves and fascias

are used, you can help them and

your house by putting up bat boxes

(south-facing locations work best)

as early as possible in the spring.

Lorraine Yates/Alamy

6

TOLERATE A BIT OF MESS

Mowing your lawn half as often, or leaving a

patch completely unmown, helps insects, while weeds

only need to be removed if they’re actually harming

your other plants.

Andrew Greaves/Alamy

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light reflectivity, fully multi-coated optics to produce

sharp images, close focus down to 2.5m, BAK-4 porro

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Yon Marsh/Alamy

7 GIVE REPTILES

A HIDEAWAY

Corrugated iron or plastic laid

flat on a sunny border can

provide hiding places for

reptiles. Don’t be tempted to

disturb them, though.

Oliver Smart/Alamy

Tim Gainey/Alamy

8

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, CREATE A POND!

l Give at least one side

of it a long, shallow slope, to

allow easy access for wildlife,

and on steep sides place

wooden or stone ramps. A few

large, flat stones on the sloping

side will create a perfect

habitat for amphibians/insects.

l Shading over part of the

pond helps reduce problems

with algae, but too much shade

is not good for wildlife, so keep

an eye on overhanging

vegetation.

l Mid-spring through to

early summer are the best

times for planting your

wildlife pond, as the water

will have warmed a little

and plants will have started

growing. Early autumn,

though, is the best time

for maintenance, before

amphibians go

into hibernation.

l Don’t be too hasty

about topping up the pond

during dry weather, but if

you do, try to use rainwater

from a butt.

l Around 25-35% open

water is perfect for a wildlife

pond, so don’t clear too much

vegetation or algae. Barley

straw is the best way to keep the

latter under control.

l Let the plants at the side

grow unhindered so that

frogs, toads and newts have

safe hiding places.

Take extra care when working

or mowing there.

The National Trust Photolibrary/Alamy*

18 Create the Perfect Bird Garden 2018


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MC 52103 297x210 Cherry Bush Porthos.indd 1 21/03/2018 12:57

FP_BIRDSPA4_BIRDWATCHIid3421619.pdf 21.03.2018 12:59


GET THE BEST FROM YOUR

BIRD-FRIENDLY GARDEN

Tim Gainey/Alamy*

Watching your garden birds?

Make your records count!

WHY MONITOR GARDEN BIRDS?

By sending your garden bird records to the

British Trust for Ornithology, you can make a

difference to its understanding of how birds use

our gardens, and how changes in our cities and

countryside are affecting birds.

The BTO Garden BirdWatch Survey has

been running since 1995 and has charted the

decline of House Sparrow, has linked garden

feeding with the increase in wintering Blackcaps

in the UK over the last 30 years, and has helped

us understand how birds choose between natural

foods and garden bird feeders.

Monitoring and recording your garden wildlife

also gives you an opportunity to watch more

closely, and understand the changes and

differences across seasons, as well as interesting

behaviours which you may, of course, have

previously overlooked.

A MESSAGE FROM THE BTO...

We are asking people to join our community of

more than 11,000 Garden BirdWatchers, and

send in simple weekly lists of the birds in your

garden. We are interested in all garden types,

from small to large, from urban to rural. By

recording on a weekly basis we can see

patterns of garden use and how it changes

depending on the time of year.

For example, we see a clear dip in Blackbird

sightings in the late summer and early autumn.

This is a time when they are most secretive,

while going through moult, and there is also a

lot of available food in the wider countryside.

The time that you spend doing the survey is

up to you, and it can fit into your schedule. You

might wish to record all the species you see

throughout the week, or you might wish to

dedicate a set time every Saturday morning.

Whatever time you can give is fine, but all we

ask is that you are consistent from week to week.

Many Garden BirdWatchers also want to record

other wildlife and there is an option to record

butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees and

mammals. You can send us your counts on paper

forms, or on our simple online system.

GET INVOLVED

You can get involved by signing up online at

bto.org/gbw or by contacting us via email

(gbw@bto.org), or phone (01842 750050).

The administration is supported by

participants through a yearly subscription of

£17, and for this you receive a free 'Garden Birds

and other wildlife' book which provides a

fantastic handbook for a garden birdwatcher,

and quarterly magazines, updating you on the

progress and results of the survey.

birdwatching.co.uk 21


Time for

a coffee

So, you've done the hard work, and now

you want to sit back and enjoy watching

your garden birds with a cup of coffee and

a biscuit or two. Bird & Wild coffee means

that you can enjoy your break while actually

helping bird conservation.

The company is on a mission to help

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migratory birds, insects and other wildlife.

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Splash out on your garden

We can't repeat too many times just how

important water is in any wildlife-friendly

garden. At the very least, birds need

somewhere safe to drink fresh water, every bit

as much as they need the seeds, suet and fat

balls that you put out on your feeders, but

somewhere to bathe, and best of all a pond

that will increase your insect-life, are also great

ways of helping the birds and other wildlife.

Water Gardening Direct is a specialist in all

types of water features for gardens of all sizes,

offering a range of solar-powered birdbath

Cat deterrents

CATWatch, the Ultrasonic cat deterrent, is the

only cat deterrent scientifically tested and

approved by the RSPB.

When the CATWatch unit is triggered, it

emits ultrasonic bursts which cause the cat to

retreat. The longer it is in place, the more

effective it is, so if you want a humane way of

keeping cats away from your birds, this is it.

Inaudible to humans and harmless to all

species, it operates day and night, and can cover

an area of around 125 sq m using a single 9v

battery, or a mains supply. There's a two year

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CATWatch can be moved and positioned at

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trees. For more

details, visit

conceptresearch.

co.uk

fountains, among other products. It also stocks

a range of feeders and bird foods, too, so you

can get everything you need to keep your

garden birds happy.

From Bird Watching's next issue, Water

Gardening Direct will sponsor our new regular

garden pages, so look out for ideas on how to

add water features to your garden that will

actively help increase its biodiversity and value

for all sorts of wildlife.

For further details on its products, visit the

website at watergardeningdirect.com

22 Create the Perfect Bird Garden 2018


FP_BIRDSPA4_Birdwatchiid3398646.pdf 06.03.2018 11:47

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