Garden birds are a source of joy for many of us. They are beautiful, playful & their songs lull us gently from sleep. We live in Derbyshire & are lucky to have a thriving community of birds, insects, plants & animals in our garden. It is a pleasure to share our lives with these wonderful creatures & we spend lots of time watching the birds.
When we arrived here there were a few robins, some blue tits, great tits, sparrows & wrens. The garden is adjacent to a small woodland & we could hear the songs of the woodland birds & others we could not yet see so we decided to get a birdfeeder. Since then our garden has become a haven for birds & we have been getting to know the individuals, the stories of their lives & families (fledging season was deafening).
Our favourite are the nuthatches. These are stunning birds with a bright orange breast, majestic grey/blue feathers & a wonderful black stripes on their heads. We had never seen them before & became entranced instantly. Nuthatches often hang upside down on the peanut feeder — they love peanuts, looking out to check their surroundings gives them a fabulous, distinctive posture
They are boisterous & usually shove other birds off the feeding area so they have it to themselves. If anyone else comes near while they are eating they quickly experience the wrath of the nuthatch. Yet we love them! Recently we have been experimenting with different nuts & seeds to see which they enjoy the most. They eat lots of sunflower seeds & carry them off to their nests, storing them up to eat through the day. They also love peanuts, hazelnuts & brazils. On cold days they will eat suet but mainly they enjoy the nuts.
Depending on where you live you could attract many different birds to your garden with a little food. They need us to help them with more than just seeds, they need fat, nuts & protein. Since we started providing a feast for the birds we get lots more birds & a wider variety of species, the other day we even saw a grey wagtail which had ventured out from its usual home at the river in search of food on a frosty morning. It is exciting to watch the birds come & go, feel at home & interact with each other.
It seems that as a society we are starting to understand how important the natural world is for us. Finally we are recognising that nature has a right to exist & not be spoiled by our behaviour but also we are realising how important it is for us as humans. We feel good when we engage with nature — just spend 5 minutes on Facebook & you will know how much we love animals, it feels like every video you see is a cat or dog. Going for a walk, gardening, birdwatching, keeping pets, all these things connect us to nature & make us feel good.
In the last few decades numbers of birds have decreased. This is a tragedy but we can all do something about it & engaging with your garden birds can be the start of something rewarding for them & us. Since we started feeding & watching the birds in our garden we have come to recognise them as individuals, they make us laugh, they are beautiful & they make us feel good. It’s a win-win situation.
Even if you live in a flat or place with no garden I bet you can find a spot for a bird feeder. We live close to a block of flats & one lady has turned her washing line into a veritable bird feast. She has 9 feeders on there & now a whole community of birds is making itself at home. Bird tables, feeders & foods are easy to come by so we can all get involved in helping nature & ultimately ourselves. Our plan with this blog is to share all that we have learned & encourage as many people as possible to feed garden birds & understand how they live & what they need.
Following the birds has also made us appreciate our garden in other ways. We have added insect houses, wildflower areas, stopped mowing (woop!), we grow a wider variety of plants & food for us & them. Our entire garden is a richer place & so are our lives.