FEED THE [URBAN] BIRDS
6th August 2019
WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT BIRDS IN YOUR CITY
Birds are all around us, even in our towns and cities. Often people think of pigeons and seagulls when we talk about ‘city birds’ but small garden birds live there too. Often birds are overlooked in our cities, they struggle to find food, have little habitat and they must compete against modern human life. Lots of studies have shown that being a city bird can be hard work, but they really are a huge asset to us city dwellers.
That’s why it’s so important to support them in our towns and cities. There are lots of ways you can get involved and start helping your urban birds. Making small changes, even on a windowsill of a third floor flat can have an impact on your local bird population.
We’ve pulled together some great ways you can support birds in your city:
CREATE BIRD-FRIENDLY HABITATS
One of the things that affect birds the most in cities is the lack of habitat. Since the 1970s there has been a huge loss in greenspace and a rise in concrete, bricks and tarmac. Birds need natural spaces to thrive; from nesting to eating birds love and need trees, shrubs and flowers. You can have a real impact in your city space by planting more of these.
If you have a larger garden go for big native trees like Elder, Hazel and Birch and add shrubs that will create great nesting spaces like Hawthorn, Rowan and Ivy. Smaller gardens and even yards can still support birds and wildlife. Add pots with native wildflowers like the ones in our Featherbom or even growing Ivy up trellises will help to support your local birds.
Insects are essential to the survival of many species of birds so growing flowers also encourage insects is a great way to support them. Birds eat and rely on flowers to support their young in Spring and Summer. Try planting a range of flowers so that that will be loved by bees and insects from early spring until late summer.
Growing berry-bearing shrubs or trees like Bramble, Cherry and Apple will support birds too. If you have an allotment space keep some of the berries and fruits you grow free for the birds to eat.
Avoiding pesticides at all costs is positive for birds, wildlife and humans too. Use natural, non-toxic methods of pest control (you’ll probably find the sparrows eating greenfly off your flowers in no time) in your garden.
If you have a lawn, don’t mow it. There’s nothing ‘neat’ about nature. Keep the grass long and wild, if you want to mow a patch do it in circles rather than straight lines. Keep ‘no-mow’ in mind next time you’re out and about near a grass verge in your city; lobbying your local council to let them know you don’t want a neat roundabout is a great way to support birds and wildlife too!
USE WINDOW FEEDERS
Even in a flat or tenement, you can support your local city birds. There are some fantastic ways to feed birds just using your window. Birds don’t have a problem with coming close to a building, even 3 floors up so attaching a window feeder is a great way to feed and interact with them.
Balconies can also support bird feeding – add a feeder or two to your balcony and the birds will come. If you are feeding birds in the city, we would suggest using a mix that is not going to make lots of mess and is wheat-free, so it won’t attract pigeons. You could choose a specific Urban Bird variety or add sunflower hearts to feeders. Try to choose bird feeders with trays and catching devices underneath them too.
You can also find some great birdbaths and nest boxes that can be used on windows and balconies to support birds too.
If you have no outside space at all and you can’t access your windows don’t worry you can still support your local birds. Guerrilla feeding (don’t use bread) in your local park, railway station or Canalside is a great way to help birds too. You can do this by adding feeders to trees or fences or simply scattering a good quality, wheat and filler-free bird food on the ground near hedges. Guerrilla gardening can be beneficial too, taking wildflower Seedboms to your local park can not only brighten it up for the people of your neighbourhood but it’s perfect for birds and insects too.
BECOME A BIRD NERD
You can also do a lot to support urban birds by gathering information that helps organisations look after them. Garden BirdWatch is a great way to do this you identify, and count birds coming to your feeder and transmit your data online – it becomes part of a huge database that helps scientists and conservationists who work to protect birds. It’s also a lovely thing for your own wellbeing too, watching birds can lower stress, anxiety and depression and really helps people living in built-up cities.
Written by Gabby Morris – Garden Crowd Founder