Living in the city doesn't mean that you can't indulge in a little twitching – read on to find out how to tempt some city birds into your urban garden…
Even the smallest, most concrete-clad city gardens and balconies can be a haven for birds – just following a few simple tips can encourage our feathered friends to visit.
One of the best tips to attract birds is to think vertical and use the space above ground – birds love cover as it makes them feel protected in exposed spaces where there isn’t much natural vegetation. Pots containing climbing plants such as ivy (which grows very quickly and is self-clinging) and honeysuckle are perfect for birds to hide in while they suss out the food situation. Rambling roses produce rosehips which birds love, and even plants such as the spiky teasel produce seeds which attract goldfinches.
While your climbing pants will attract birds, making your urban garden a reliable source of food will keep them coming back. As well as fatballs, and seeds and nuts (preferably in squirrel-proof containers), fruit bushes such as redcurrant or blackberry and herbs such as mint will also attract hungry birds. Don’t forget to add a source of water – this could be a rabbit hutch-type water bottle suspended over a bowl or plate.
Other bird-friendly additions include suspended bird boxes for nesting. Different birds are attracted to different types of box – see the handy guide here. You can also leave out bird-friendly nesting materials, such as wool, twigs and even pet hair. Just make sure that nesting boxes are well out of reach of any feline visitors.
Another way of attracting birds is to ignore the weeds and keep part of your outside area wild. This also encourages the bugs and insects which some birds like to feed on and provides extra cover.
It's fascinating to watch birds go about their daily business – our handy logbook is a great way to identify, record and find out more about your new garden visitors.