September - Bird-Friendly Outdoor Spaces

Wildlife is welcoming in any garden. Nature’s visitors add a dimension of sounds and colours which is as important to the final effect as the plants you grow. Whilst relaxing in a comfy chair on the patio, it’s lovely to watch the birds that visit. So, as summer draws to a close, it’s time to give your wild birds a little care and attention in order to keep relishing in the beauty they bring.

Attracting Aves

Bird baths are a hive of activity during the really hot weather and the seed heads of wild flowering area parts of the plot will house an abundance of insects for the birds to lap up. These spaces are a birdwatcher’s dream, with many species of garden birds also nesting nearby. Swallows, with their swooping flight and forked tails, breed in their messy mud-nest, safely out of harm’s way in the high rafters of an outbuilding. You can often spot them in early summer darting in and out to feed noisy chicks; these have now grown and safely fledged. Other birds to keep an eye out for are robins; known as the gardener’s friend because they quietly wait nearby when you’re weeding or digging – just in case a tasty worm or grub is unearthed. Else, finches can be found pecking up high on spiky teasel seed heads, their tiny weight hardly bending the stout stems as they make the most of nature’s larder.

If you’re smart about positioning food in a site that’s easily observed, you can watch as they enjoy the supply. Try popping some new hanging seed feeders outside the kitchen window and enjoy watching the lively antics of those little feathered visitors, it definitely brightens having a sink full of dishes!

Ways to watch

Just sitting quietly in the garden and spotting the types of birds that come to visit will stir your senses with masses of sights and sounds. Wildlife provides visual interest of its own and supports the growth of your plants, which provide interest too. Once you’ve got a space that invites this beneficial wildlife in, your job is to sit back and admire it—so having an area to do so is key. It should be both practical and decorative; reflecting the planting themes and styles seen throughout the garden. When the birds come out to eat, so can you. Share a meal outside in the garden with a loved one. Hartman’s Bistro sets are small and inconspicuous for positioning in compact settings. As the evening draws in and the birds are bustling about, you’ll drink in plenty of sights to satisfy. 

Alternatively, if dining isn’t on the radar, a recliner provides ultimate comfort. If you’ve got the space, opt for a plush and luxurious lounger from the Heritage range—these are also great for star gazing. Established seating can be added to as well, to make it more comfortable for wildlife watching. Just position the Heritage stool around your garden table to provide extra seating or use it as a comfortable foot stool. This fantastic stool even doubles up at an icebox, or as storage to house your bird binoculars, so it really maximises the space you’ve got.

Care in the cold

To help birds build up for winter, homemade fat balls are great. Just mix a packet of lard with twice as much wild bird seed and mould into rounded shapes with your hands. Then push a string through the middle of each and hang them from the bird table or sturdy branches on a tree, and you’ll see all sorts of hungry diners fly in for a snack.

There are plenty of plants you can grow for colour, structure and winter interest, which also provide a really good food source and so will attract wild birds. Cotoneaster, pyracantha,  berberis and holly all produce an abundance of berries that birds love, as well as year-round foliage to add colour. The prickliest varieties make a great nesting site, keeping them safe from predators, as well as adding a home security feature when grown under a street-facing window—this planting location also provides you with a great view of birds feeding on the berries!

Knowing the types of birds that regularly visit your garden will help with buying or building the right sort of birdboxes, ready for the spring. These can be put up well ahead of when they’re needed, so that wildlife accepts them as part of the garden and can be made from recycled materials as a fun project to do with the kids or bought readymade from your local garden centre. Site them carefully, so that the pop-hole is sheltered from wind and rain, and make sure they’re up high enough to protect the birds from cats and other predators.

For more ideas on making your garden a haven for wild birds, visit daviddomoney.com for all you need to make your garden wildlife-friendly.