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Gardening with wildlife in mind

Birds like to use our gardens for additional feeding throughout the year – but it is when food is at its most scarce that they will use our gardens most.

Wild creatures’ basic needs are the same as our own: food, water and shelter – which is why providing a range of food sources and vital protection from the elements is likely to attract more species into your garden.

Therefore, ensuring your garden has been cultivated with wildlife in mind can be the difference between life and death for some animals.

Firstly, by providing a generous helping of ground mix, you will entice Blackbirds, House Sparrows, Robins and Starlings, while live mealworms and waxworms will be snapped up enthusiastically, and  are highly beneficial to those species rearing their young.

Additionally, it is not only the selection of food that matters – the types of bird feeders and wooden bird tables you choose for your garden also play an important role in attracting different species.

Hanging seed feeders are perfect for all seeds and mixes and are likely to draw finches, tits and sparrows. Niger seed feeders, on the other hand, are ideal if you would like to spot the eye-catching Goldfinch.

Of course, given that many garden birds are vulnerable to attacks from predators, we recommend placing feeders near to thick shrubs and trees so birds can escape quickly if they feel threatened.

Not only that, but shrubs can also offer food, shelter and natural nesting sites – and this is essential in maintaining the presence of wildlife in your garden. Hawthorn and blackthorn are ideal for these purposes as their fruits offer sustenance to birds and their flowers are important for nectar-feeding insects.

However, as most gardeners are well aware, the plants in your garden are at risk from greenflies and blackflies – but creating a habitat that attracts birds such as the Blue Tit will naturally help reduce aphid numbers.

Last, but by no means least, it is crucial your garden provides a few water sources for wildlife if you are to succeed in tempting them in. Ponds and barrels can do a job, but ornate bird baths look great and provide an ideal environment in which birds can drink and bathe happily.