With many species of communal garden birds in sharp decline it is now more important than ever to provide a food source during the harsher, leaner winter months. It is always advisable to plant many different plants in order to benefit a wide range of garden bird species and below you will find a few suggestions:
Thrushes including Blackbirds (berry eating species):
Sorbus aucuparia (Mountain Ash)
Upright deciduous tree with pinnate leaves that turn yellow in autumn. White flowers in spring are followed by orange/red fruits in autumn. Height and spread 5m x 3m in 10 years. For the smaller garden plant Sorbus aucuparia ‘Autumn Spire’ which grows 3-4m high in 10 years.
Viburnum opulus ‘Compactum’ (Guelder Rose)
Deciduous compact shrub which produces bright red berries and good autumn colour. Height 1.2m – 1.5m.
Cotoneaster frigidus ‘Cornubia’
Evergreen shrub or small tree. White flowers in spring followed by red berries that are irresistable to birds.
Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ (Dogwood)
Great deciduous shrub known for its colourful stems in winter.
Makes a great wall shrub or hedge. White flowers in spring followed by red, orange or yellow berries in autumn.
Ilex aquifolium (Common Holly)
Great hedging plant that produces red berries on female plants.
Hedera varieties (Ivy)
Climber that flowers during autumn and early winter providing a valuable source of nectar when most other plants are dormant. Produces black berries adored by birds.
Starlings and other bird species
Malus (Apple and Crab Apple Trees)
Don’t be too tidy and leave a few “windfall” apples to provide a boozy feast for many species.
Don’t forget bird seed, nuts and mealworms are on sale now available from our shop, where you will find something suitable for all bird species.
Seed eating species including Finches & Sparrows:
Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ (Blue Fescue)
Low-growing ornamental grass which produces seed heads attractive to birds.
Echinops ritro (Globe Thistle)
Perennial which produces attractive globe-shaped bright blue flowers over grey/green foliage and woolly stems.
Plant that is much loved by birds, bees and butterflies alike.
Oenothera (Evening Primrose)
Hardy perennial that flowers year after year. Allow plant to run to seed towards late summer.
Fact or fiction?
Birds prefer red berries to all other colours?
Not strictly true however, red or black berries are thought to help birds find them more easily against a contrasting foliage colour.
Birds tell each other upon discovering a good food source?
This is true in many cases because many bird species will naturally flock together during the winter months and as a result will generally find food more easily.
There is generally a hierarchy between different bird species and feeding times at the bird table? This is true in many cases where there is a natural pecking order at the bird table during feeding times.