How to help birds near you

Learn about some helpful strategies for supporting the wild birds living near your home through the seasons.

29th May 2024

Whether you have a balcony pot or vast garden plot, our ‘Tails’ of UK Wildlife campaign explores the many ways you’re able to nurture nature in your neighbourhood!

While we’ve already acknowledged the importance of feeding wild birds and providing water for them, it’s helpful to discover additional strategies for supporting wild birds through the seasons… 

Add bird-friendly plants to your garden

We may think of adding plants as a way to support pollinators, though did you know wild birds benefit from certain plants, too? 

During the spring and summer, glorious sunflowers provide tasty seeds for wild birds to enjoy. Whereas super shrubs packed with berries, like hawthorn, are great to help birds throughout autumn and winter. 

Be careful when trimming hedges

Many of our wild birds, like robins and blackbirds, nest in the hedges and shrubs surrounding our gardens. 

Since nesting season starts around March, it’s recommended that you trim hedges and shrubs during autumn and winter months. Allowing your hedge and/or shrubs to grow during spring and summer will gift wild birds a safe space to build their nest and raise their young.

Install a nest box

Another way to support wild birds during nesting season is to provide a nest box for them. By installing a nest box, you’re able to give a wild bird family their very own home during nesting season. You could even install a camera in the nest box, before it’s in use, to experience the magic of eggs hatching and chicks fledging! 

Remember: It’s important to clean the nest box once you’re certain all chicks have safely fledged – usually around autumn – to make sure it’s ready for new residents, in time for spring. 

Prevent birds from crashing into windows

Sadly, countless birds crash into windows each year and the outcome for many is tragic. It’s thought the reason birds fly into windows is due to the way light reflects off the glass, creating a glare that confuses them. 

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent birds from flying into your windows, including:

  • Leaving vertical blinds halfway open, as that indicates to birds that the window is there; curtains and horizontal blinds are only effective when they’re closed.
  • Putting stickers onto your windows to reduce the amount of glare, e.g. Garden Bird Window Stickers by the RSPB.   
  • If you dislike the thought of covering windows in bird stickers, there are ultraviolet stickers available that aren’t easily seen by us but visible to birds.
  • Apply an opaque film to the outside of your windows that’s transparent from inside and still lets light in, but reduces the risk of birds flying into the glass.
  • Have standard glass windows replaced with something called ‘fritted glass’ – a special ceramic coating that’s opaque, yet also keeps buildings cooler. 

Deter your cat from hunting birds

Protecting wild birds from your cat is another way to help the bird population in your local area. Here are some of our top tips for deterring your cat from pursuing their hunting habit:

  • Keep your cat indoors during sunrise and sunset hours, as those are the times wild birds are likely to be feeding and are most at risk of being caught.
  • Add a bell to your cat’s quick-release collar, to allow birds to hear them approaching and escape before your feline friend can catch them.
  • Make sure your cat is well-fed, so they’re less inclined to want to go hunting.

Remember: If you have a dog, it’s worth checking birds aren’t eating or bathing in the garden before letting your canine companion run outside, to avoid disturbing them.

For further advice about ways to protect wildlife from your pets, have a chat to the vet experts over at Joii Pet Care, at any time, through their app!

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