As Charles Darwin once said, “The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” If you’d like to learn how to encourage all creatures great and small into your garden, read on.
Feed the birds
It’s been proven that birdsong induces a feeling of calm and relaxation, so we ought to do all we can to keep them coming back to our gardens to be part of our daily soundtracks.
The RSPB and the British Trust for Ornithology both suggest feeding birds all year round to provide them with essential energy and keep them coming back to your back garden.
There are many types of bird feeders to suit every taste, from a see-through window bird feeder which lets you see what they’re up to from the comfort of your own sofa to a swinging chair bird feeder! Whichever you opt for, fill with peanuts, sunflower seeds or nyjer seeds from your local pet store.
To keep the cost down you can even treat your feathered friends to your leftovers! Cut overripe apples, pears and plums in half and leave on the bird table or leave the birds your leftover cooked rice, grated cheese and remnants from your cereal packet.
Feeling creative? Poundland have a thrifty guide on how tomake a birdfeederout of a plastic bottle and 2 wooden spoons.
A Full Nest
According to theRSPBthere are over 60 species of birds known to use nest boxes.
Nest boxes provide breeding opportunities for birds that would usually nest in holes in trees. A scattering of bird boxes in your back garden will give regular residents such as blue, great and coal tits, nuthatches, house and tree sparrows, starlings, spotted and pied flycatchers, robins, house martins, kestrels and tawny owls a safe place to raise their young.
You can pick up a nest box from Amazon for under £5 – you should avoid expensive decorative nest boxes as the plain wooden boxes are more likely to attract birds.
Up for a challenge? The RSPB has a guide for making your own nestbox out of timber.
Once your nest box is set up, resist the urge to peek under the roof too often as it could disturb the residents.
To encourage frogs, toads and newts into your garden you can create a simple container water feature using an old bucket, bath or sink basin. Simply plug drainage holes, add water and plants and incorporate a long shallow slope to give critters easy access! The RSPB have a step-by-step guide here.
It’s important to give birds access to clean water to drink and bathe in.
To make your own colourful birdbath all you need is three large terracotta plant pots, one waterproof saucer, some glue, acrylic craft paint and clear water based spray acrylic.
- Sand down the pots to remove dirt and dust. Allow to dry.
- Place the first plant pot opening side down
- Apply waterproof construction adhesive to the opening of the second pot and place it opening side down on top of the first
- Repeat step 2 with a third pot.
- Apply the adhesive to the bottom of the waterproof saucer and place on top. Leave overnight to dry.
- Thin the acrylic craft paint with a bit of water and paint the pots, leave to dry.
- Once the pot has dried completely, apply two coats of spray acrylic to seal and protect.
Rock piles & logs
Fallen trees, branches and deadwood provide important shelter for toads and hedgehogs, and also insects - a source of nutrition for birds.
Build a pile of logs, branches, leaves and shrub cuttings in a shady spot in your garden and leave them to decay,
All righty then! Follow the steps above and before you know it you’ll be at one with the birds and the bees.