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Over half of adults in the UK feed birds in their garden and it is as easy as buying a good quality bird feeder and filling it with tasty treats. By placing the feeder somewhere visible from indoors, you and your whole family can enjoy bird watching. Ensuring your bird feeder is kept topped up will mean your visitors will become dependent on your food and they will return for more. Sunflower seeds are a great source of high energy which will be particularly beneficial during this time of the year when birds need to maintain their fat reserves to survive the frosty nights. At Countryside’s Mandeville Place in Saffron Walden, the surrounding green spaces and ecology park make the perfect home for bird boxes and mature trees.
Nestboxes are brilliant substitutes for the holes found in old trees, and with over 60 species known to use bird boxes, you should not be short of guests. Blue tits, nuthatches, sparrows and starlings are common inhabitants, and much depends on the location of the box to which species take residence. There are also some important considerations when positioning the nestbox, for example, it should be placed between north and east to avoid strong sunlight and birds should have a clear flight path to their nest. In Chelmsford, Countryside is working alongside the Land Trust to encourage wildlife into Beaulieu’s stunning open spaces by providing workshops for residents to build bird boxes and feeders for the new parks.
Just as important as leaving out food for wild birds is providing water throughout the year for drinking and bathing. There are many ways to provide water, but the simplest is a bird bath which is easy to clean and refill. It should have shallow sloping sides with a shallow approach to water to allow different species to bathe. During the winter, it is necessary to check bird baths to see whether the water has frozen and remove any ice so that the birds still have access to water. The location of a bird bath is just as important as the positioning of a nest; birds will only use it if they feel safe and have clear visibility so place it near bushes or trees to provide cover if they are alarmed.
There are over 150 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ nature reserves you can visit throughout the UK, but you don’t have to venture far from home if you have a bird watching spot in your own neighbourhood. Countryside’s sustainable Great Kneighton development in Cambridge not only provides homes for people, but is also a haven for birds and other wildlife. Bird screens located within the Great Kneighton Country Park, provide an ideal retreat for wildlife enthusiasts as well as a sanctuary for peace and tranquility.
With just a few amendments, you can turn your garden into a haven for birds where they have access to space, water, food and shelter. This will in turn, bring your garden to life and offer plenty of entertainment for you and your family.
Marketing Manager, Strategic Land
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