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Thursday December 12 2019

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In Full . . .

Create hedges to attract birds

Posted on February 25 2019 at 2:59:29

I write in response to the letter Where are the small birds? in your January magazine.

Firstly, I must congratulate Mr Page. He has a resident hedgehog. That is wonderful news! He has installed a home for hedgehogs and it has been “taken”.  If he were to provide homes for the birds, they too would take up residence. 

Native hedges, such as hawthorn, blackthorn or holly, that are maintained as a dense shelter are ideal. Dense privet is also suitable. 

Birds are canny nest-builders and would build in thick, matted climbers, such as ivy and jasmine, and indeed anywhere where there is some support and overhead shelter from the weather.  

Food is required to encourage birds into gardens. Berried shrubs are a huge asset and during the summer, plants such as teasel and sunflower produce seed for the birds when winter comes. 

In fact, that prompts me to say don’t be too tidy in the garden.  Leave some “rubbish” in which birds can find insects and use as “home building” material. A log pile will be visited frequently, and could be tucked away in an out of the way corner. 

Regarding feeding the birds with “bought” seed, peanuts, and fat (in various forms), a bird table will attract some birds, but it is my experience that a “natural” feeding station works wonderfully. 

I do not use a bird table at all these days, I have a couple of “unruly” blackthorn bushes and I hang bird feeders on that and on a nearby broom bush. 

Around these “feeding stations” are other shrubs on which the birds alight, before taking that last short flight to the feeders. They need to know that all is safe before they go to the food.

I should be delighted to invite Mr Page to come and view my “set-up” from the warmth of our kitchen, and watch all the small birds that are regular visitors.

We have regularly six goldfinches, great tits, coal tits, robins, blackbirds, and numerous blue tits, long-tailed tits, and sparrows.

Occasionally we have bull finches, chaffinches, and wrens. Wood pigeons, magpies and squirrels also visit us.

Mrs Pamela Chancellor, Lydiate Ash


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