Saturday, 24 January 2015

Birdwatching Weekend & Seedy Sunday reminder

If you are a gardener or allotment holder you might consider birds as annoying scavengers and even 'pests'. For instance, if you have soft fruit trees and bushes, you might have to use nets to prevent birds from 'stealing' your fruit. In times gone by, farmers used scarecrows in their fields to scare birds off crops - they now have very noisy contractions or use cages, nets and/or polytunnels.

Many birds are helpful allies, especially in organic gardening. The Royal Horticultural Society offers advice on how to attract birds into your garden. Click here to read the article. And who doesn't welcome a visit from a curious robin?

Birdwatching Weekend

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is asking bird lovers across the country to spend one hour over the weekend of 24-25 January and record the different species of birds that visit their gardens.

You can register for this year’s Big Garden Bird Watch and report back with the approximate number and variety of birds you spot. The RSPB has been collating numbers since 1979 to help better understand which birds are on the decline and how we can help to prevent it. Since then, over 7 million have been counted. The top 10 most common garden birds spotted in 2014 were:
  1. House sparrow
  2. Blue tit
  3. Starling
  4. Blackbird
  5. Woodpigeon
  6. Chaffinch
  7. Goldfinch
  8. Great tit
  9. Collared dove
  10. Robin

Although the house sparrow is still at number one, this cheerful chap has remained on the red list as their numbers were still down to 62% from the first Big Garden Bird Watch. As the RSPB and the RHS point out, there are lots we can do to encourage birds into the garden, particularly in winter when food is scarce. Providing plenty of good-quality food on bird tables, and hanging fat balls is an easy way to do this. We can also help wild birds by retaining some “untidy” areas over the winter months - which encourages insects, another important source of food.

Jordan Lee, from Birstall Garden Centre, says: “As gardeners, we understand that our native birds - and visitors of course – play as important a part in making our gardens beautiful, as our plants and flowers do. So why not take part in this worthwhile project?”

Don't forget that tomorrow is Seedy Sunday! You can find information about the event in our previous blog post. Click here to view it. Please pay us a visit, we have our own table at the event. If you have kids, they get in for free and there is an activity to keep them busy!

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