Helping Birds in Small Spaces
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 only have a small space, or even just a balcony.
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. These include wall mounted feeders, and window feeders which require very little space. There are also specialist brackets and adaptors to help you create feeding stations by mounting traditional feeders on fences, decking or balconies.
This makes the possibility of offering a quality bird food possible for everyone, regardless of how much space you have available.
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.
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
No matter how small the space it’s possible to garden for wildlife, even on a balcony. 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, followed by berries that are a delicacy for the birds.
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.
Other ways to help wildlife
As well as providing nest boxes, food and plants to encourage wildlife there are other options such as adding an insect shelter, bat box or bird bath. If your garden gets visited by hedgehogs, squirrels or frogs and toads you will find a range of products in this catalogue to help you to help your wildlife.
In short, no matter how small the garden or balcony, it’s always possible to bring nature closer.
If you are still unsure about how you can help, please call our free wildlife advice line , and one of our friendly customer advisors will be happy to assist you.