Endangered Garden Birds and What You Can Do to Help
According to a recent study conducted by the British Trust for Ornithology, more than a quarter of British birds are on a conservation “red list”. Some of these endangered birds used to be regular garden visitors. Take a look at our list to find out which birds are currently threatened and what you can do to help:
One third of young starlings used to survive their first year. Now, it’s just 15%. The reason for this decline is unknown.
Food: Insects – beetles, flying ants, flies and earthworms. Berries, fruit and scraps also go down well.
Habitat: Starlings will set up home in a large nest box with a 45mm diameter hole placed 2.5 metres up from the ground.
A popular garden song bird, the song thrush likes to nest In hedgerows. It’s thought that the loss of hedgerows in rural areas has led to the species’ decline.
Food: Invertebrates including worms and snails (so avoid using slug pellets). During colder months, hawthorn, holly and ivy berries are popular.
Habitat: Try to plant trees, shrubs, dense climbers like ivy or other thick vegetation. Song thrushes like to make their nests low down and under cover of foliage.
The decline in greenfinches has been attributed to a disease that prevents birds from feeding properly. Cleaning and disinfecting feeding sites, bird baths and feeders regularly will help to prevent the spread of this disease.
Food: Seeds, particularly black sunflower seeds. Other favourites include chopped peanuts and sunflower hearts.
Habitat: Greenfinches like to nest in dense shrubbery and are unlikely to take up residence in a nest box.
The sparrow is a hugely adaptable bird and its current decline is, as yet, not fully understood.
Food: Primarily seeds and kitchen scraps. They feed aphids to their young so don’t be too trigger happy with the pest spray.
Habitat: Sparrows nest in colonies so place several nest boxes close together. Planting a few large shrubs or hedges nearby too will give sparrows a space to gather and socialise.
Whatever endangered bird species you’re planning on lending a hand to, you’ll need a source of water and a supply of food all year round. Brush up on the foods you shouldn’t feed to garden birds and supplement food provisions with fattier options come winter. The hope is that, with a little care and support, these birds will once again become a common sight in our gardens.
- Nikki Boxwild