Here you will find all kinds of useful information that will help you to identify your garden birds and how to make your garden more friendly to birds and to all biodiversity.
Our gardens are a haven for wildlife. Garden birds are among our most familiar and easily observed bird species, they are easily attracted to feeders and bird tables, and can be watched from the comfort of our own homes.
Birds are present in our gardens year-round. There are many ways in which you can help them, and much of this by simply gardening in a wildlife-friendly manner. You can also provide them with additional food, and of course providing them with nestboxes is a sure way to assist them through the nesting period.
Please also make regular visits to our Garden Bird Blog – this will keep you up-to-date on a seasonal basis on what’s happening in Irish gardens.
Feeding Garden Birds
Make sure to feed regularly; don’t put out lots of feeders and then forget to refill them. Birds can become dependant on a food source, particularly during harsh weather. Only use fresh peanuts and seeds, do not use damp or mouldy food. Ensure fresh water is always available for drinking or bathing. Be sure to remove any ice during cold weather so that birds can drink. Birds often feed on the ground below a feeder, make sure there is no shrubbery nearby that could conceal a cat and try to keep all feeders at least 5-6 feet above the ground. Remember to wash all feeders and to change the water in the bird bath on a regular basis.
Gardening For Birds
As well as putting out food such as; peanuts, seeds, fats and fruits for birds, you can also attract them by planting suitable trees and shrubs. These can provide suitable nesting sites as well as offer a rich and abundant food source. Some of the more suitable of the commonly grown garden plants are listed below:
Cotoneasters; provide dense cover for nesting and an abundant supply of red/orange berries in the winter months. A particular favourite of Blackbirds
Pyracantha; needs to be grown against a wall. These also provide an abundant supply of red/orange berries in the autumn.
Ivy; climbs up trees and walls providing good cover for nests, the fruit can be eaten in late winter and early spring, particularly attractive to; Thrushes, Robins and Blackcaps, while its flowers are attractive to insects in autumn.
Honeysuckle; A range of different varieties provide a long flowering and fruiting season. Attracts warblers as well as thrushes and Bullfinches. The dense growth of this climber provides ample cover for nesting.
Holly; trees defended by territorial Mistle Thrushes may hold their berries until the spring. For a good crop of berries, plant female trees of the normal wild form, to ensure good fruiting there should be a male holly tree nearby.
Rowan/Mountain Ash; The large clusters of red berries attract winter thrushes such as Redwings and Fieldfares. These berries are also the main source of food for the rare Waxwing.
Hawthorn; although slow growing, produces berries which are a great favourite with Redwings and Blackbirds. A dense hedge will provide plenty of nesting cover for a wide range of species.
Crab Apples; abundant small fruits are welcomed by wintering Blackcaps and Thrushes.
Teasel; especially liked by Goldfinches which will take the seeds.
A real garden favourite and probably the most familiar garden bird – the bright orange-red breast and facial area make it unmistakable.
Always busy around the garden, the Blue Tit is a colourful, noisy, active little bird, commonly seen in gardens, especially at nut feeders and will use nestboxes.
Garden Bird Survey
The largest and longest running citizen science project in Ireland. The Garden Bird Survey provides us with a wealth of information on the health of our garden bird populations and it wouldn’t be possible without you, the garden bird surveyor.