New homeowners are being encouraged to invite birds into their gardens by Barratt Homes ahead of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch
The national wildlife survey event is taking place from 28th to 30th January and encourages people of all backgrounds to join the millions who take part in counting the birds across the country.
In preparation, the five star housebuilder has teamed up with the RSPB to give its top tips on how new residents can give nature a home and ensure they have plenty of feathered friends close by to document.
The activities are simple and easy to do, yet can help transform a brand new garden into a wildlife haven for birds.
Andrea Pilgrim, sales director of Barratt said: “The Big Garden Birdwatch is such an exciting event and we wanted to encourage homeowners who own a brand new property to get involved and invite birds into their garden”.
During the colder months birds need a lot of energy just to maintain their body temperature, so it’s important to feed them foods that are high in fat, such as sunflower seeds, peanuts or fat-based food bars. If these fatty foods come in a mesh sacking, be sure to remove them from the netting and place them into a feeder or directly onto a bird table - birds can become trapped and injured by getting caught on the mesh. During cold weather it’s a good idea to feed twice a day (if demand calls for it), once in the morning and again early afternoon.
Ensure a supply of water
Make sure that you also provide daily fresh water for your garden birds either in a birdbath, pond or even a recycled, shallow container with a stone inside so that they can perch - birds need this not only to drink, but to bathe too. And during the winter your garden water becomes even more vital as natural sources could freeze.
A handy tip to ensure access to your water source for birds – a light ball floating on the surface of your pond or bird bath will be moved by even a gentle breeze, and will keep a small amount of water ice-free!
Create a sparrow street
Sadly, the UK population of house sparrows has halved in recent years, so the RSPB is encouraging people to build sparrow boxes and put them up in their gardens, providing shelter and a home for the birds. These can be done using materials such as wood, rubber, nails and screws, or for those who don’t have the time to make one, the bird boxes are available to buy from the RSPB website.
Sparrows like to have their friends nearby so why not encourage a colony of them in your garden by building a sparrow street and putting a row of them together?
Plant a tree in your garden
Trees play a vital part in offering birds a home so why not invite them into your garden by planting your very own tree? They offer song perches, nesting sites, safe retreats, and highways in the sky, so there’s no reason why this wouldn’t help bring some wildlife into your own garden.
This is a perfect way to get involved in bringing wildlife to your home and works for gardens of every size, and can be much easier and more affordable than you think. This works with trees of all sizes, so don’t think because you have a smaller garden you might not be able to take part, as apple trees are a perfect choice for those with less room.
Andrea continued: “As a leading housebuilder, we want to work closely with our residents to ensure our British wildlife is preserved at our developments across the are as this is extremely important to us.
“Birds are absolutely mesmerising in their behaviours and this is something that, as a nation, we should be able to appreciate more. We hope these tips will help to encourage wildlife into people’s gardens and give birds a home this season.”
Barratt Homes was proud to announce its partnership with the RSPB in 2016.
Morwenna Alldis, spokesperson for the RSPB South West, said: “The Big Garden Birdwatch gives us a great snapshot of how our garden birds are faring and we need to know this information for new-build houses as well as older properties.
“With just a bit of effort, we know new homes for people can be great homes for the nation's favourite birds too.”
For more information about any of these top tips or to become a member, please visit the RSPB website https://www.rspb.org.uk/