Small spaces are equally helpful to wildlife

Although the saying goes ‘big is beautiful’ you don’t need a large garden to make a welcoming patch for birds and wildlife. Urbanisation is making it increasingly difficult for birds to find sufficient natural food, with gardens adopting hard landscaping such as decking or car parking and green spaces being given over to development. Many new build estates are smaller than they were 20 years ago so the size of our gardens is also reducing, but it’s quite easy to use your garden to help the birds, even if you have limited space. Small gardens, patios, courtyards and terraces are all great places in which to create a wildlife garden and you can find lots of space saving solutions to ensure you maximise the opportunity to encourage wildlife to it.

Bird Food & Feeders

The fragmented habitat in towns and cities can cause temporary shortages of natural food, which is why year-round feeding has been recommended in the UK for over 20 years.

Restrictions in space do not need to restrict your options when it comes to selecting the right foods for your garden birds. There are a wide variety of high quality bird foods available; from seed mixes and peanuts, to high calorie food in jars and fat balls & suet cakes – and many foods don’t need a feeder to be put out in the garden which is also beneficial when space is tight.

If you do want to add a feeder, they come in all different shapes and sizes to suit every type of space and budget. CJ Wildlife pole feeding systems are an excellent way to incorporate multiple feeders in one place. With usually two or four hanging arms, you can mix and match seed and peanut feeders, suet and fat ball products and even high energy treats. Providing a greater variety of food and feeders in this way means the more bird species you are likely to attract. There are usually extra dishes and hooks for which you can add additional foods and essential water making this a real avian restaurant!

For more direct contact there are window feeders for which you don’t need much of an outside space at all. Securely attached with suction cups these feeders fit directly onto the outside of your window enabling you to watch your feathered friends. Again, the range is wide, from smaller seed and peanut feeders, hanging options for fat products and even window tables. You should consider what is suitable for your window and of course the height at which you will need to refill it! Most bird food products can be put onto window feeders so there is no less choice. Wall mounted feeders, hanging brackets and adaptors can help you create feeding stations by mounting traditional feeders on fences, decking or balconies. We even have feeders in the SingingFriend range which are attached with velcro so can be put almost anywhere

Regardless of space, or how many birds you have visiting your garden, it is important to choose good quality, calorie packed food to give the birds the help that they need. Sunflower hearts and peanuts contain lots of energy, or you can choose a mix such as Hi-Energy No Mess or Hi-Energy Supreme that are also rich in calories. Our peanut cakes are another great source of energy and are available in a variety of sizes and flavours, including filled coconuts and a range of nutritious treats.

Nesting

If you only have a balcony or roof garden, and even if these are at some height above the ground, Robins, Blue Tits and Great Tits are quite likely to appear, and readily take to suitably placed nest boxes. If you are able to plant wall climbing plants to create some additional cover in close proximity to the nest box, this will help birds feel more secure with their surroundings and increase the likelihood of breeding birds residing in your nest box.

Even in small spaces, House Sparrows, Starlings and Swifts are classic urban birds and use our homes as nesting habitat instead of the cliffs and hollow trees they would once have relied on. If you have these species within your locality, a nest box placed on a wall, tree or garden shed is likely to create interest from breeding pairs. Find out more about putting up nest boxes here.

Planting for wildlife

If you’re keen on a wildflower meadow to encourage pollinating bees and insects but don’t have the space, try using decorative pots to attract our smallest creatures. There are many plants and even shrub fruit trees available to give you a splendid display of colour and scent all year round, inviting an abundance of insects to do their job. Plants such as the Mini Buddlejas can be grown in containers and will attract a range of beneficial insects. For autumn colour the Dogwood and will look great and will produce summer flowers that are attractive to bees and other pollinators. Berries, seeds and insects will provide valuable natural sources of food for birds too. It’s also worth considering fruit bushes such as blackberries or raspberries that will produce fruit that you can enjoy as well as the birds. Providing an insect habitat is an excellent addition and most are compact and multi-purpose. No matter how small the space it’s possible to garden for wildlife, even on a balcony..

Other ways to help wildlife

As well as providing nest boxes, food and plants to encourage birds and insects, there are other options for visiting wildlife such as bats, hedgehogs, squirrels or frogs. You will find a range of products in our wildlife section to help with ideas.

Whatever you do in your patch, however small, will benefit and be very much appreciated by the wildlife who visit.

If you are still unsure about how you can help, please give us a call and one of our friendly team will be happy to assist you.