Since last year I’ve been experimenting in Clifton Street to see if I can get wild birds to fly in and brighten up the neighbourhood. Alan Titchmarsh with his ‘90s decking and paving garden TV programmes has a lot to answer for when it comes to declining eco habitats!
Spurred on by BBC ‘Springwatch’ and with only a postage stamp of a garden, I read tips to encourage wild birds. Well, I’ve got so many birds now that I’d like to pass on a few to other folk in the area who fancy having these sweeties visit their ‘outdoor spaces’.
All birds love eating! Not just in the winter but all year round. After much experimentation, the best mix bird seed for these West Hill critters seems to be ‘Selected Wild Bird Food’ from Robert Dyas. I tend to mix that in with ‘High Energy Pellets with Insects’ from Bargain Buys and, at £1.49, that’s good value. They absolutely adore these. You can add dried worms but hey, we’re getting into total luxury here.
I give them a whistle in the morning and they all fly in and line up. The robin gets in first. Anything left after the sparrows dart into the hopper is gobbled up by the wood pigeon and a couple of doves. Fresh water is crucial and it’s so lovely to see them drinking and bathing and spraying the stuff everywhere. In the summer you’ll see them feeding their young and these scenes are priceless.
It’s a great way of doing your bit for conservation as house sparrows are in decline. I hope that you’ll knock up a bird feeder (away from cats) and enjoy their chatter as much as I do! The great thing is I’ll be able to go on holiday knowing they are being looked after nearby – by you!
Lorraine Bowen is a local songwriter/performer and her new single is ‘Desk Exercise’.