Attracting wildlife to your garden

Give nature a home with RSPB and ESPC

Leianna Padgett RSPB

Twitcher or nature lover, attracting wild life to your garden whether it be city or country side can bring an oasis of calm to your life as well as ensure that local wildlife is offered a sanctuary.

Gardens are an essential habitat for some of our best loved wildlife species from hedgehogs, birds and butterflies to toads, bats and much more. They provide food, water and shelter for wildlife.

Unfortunately wildlife across the country has declined significantly in recent years. That’s why we are asking people to give nature a home in their garden or outdoor space.

There are lots of simple measures you can take to make your garden an ideal home for a range of creatures.

Leianna Padgett from the RSPB features on our ESPC News blog this week and guides us through a few garden ideas to welcome wildlife into your garden this summer.


Build a home

Here are a few tips on how to attract these feathered and furry friends to your gardens if this is something you would like to do.

You could put up a nest box for birds, build a log pile for bugs to thrive, plant wild flowers for bees and other pollinating insects or just let your grass grow a little longer to encourage invertebrates and birds.

No matter how big or small your garden, there are lots of opportunities to give nature a home. If you live in a flat without access to a garden, try planting a window box with flowers that bees and other pollinating insects love. If you have a small green space you could put up a nest box for garden birds like blue tits or create a small water feature for toads and insects.

hedgehog ladybug butterfly

Feeding time

Providing food for garden birds is also a fantastic way to attract them to your garden and give them a helping hand. If you have a larger garden, there are simple measures you can take including planting wildflowers for bees and other pollinators or simply resist the urge to clear up fallen branches and letting your grass grow longer for insects and birds.

Planting native plants wherever possible is a fantastic way to help local wildlife. Check with your local garden centre for tips on the best varieties for your area. Flowering plants such as lavender, sedum, scabious, globe thistle, verbena, rosemary, thyme and borageare all good options for attracting bees and butterflies.

If you have more space, consider planting trees and shrubs to create cover and nesting habitat for garden birds and other creatures. Garden birds rely on a helping hand, especially during the colder months when natural food sources are in short supply. In addition to nutritious seed mixes, you can also provide kitchen leftovers such as:

  • Fruit that has passed its prime, bits of seeds and nuts at the bottom of the packet – this makes fantastic, high energy food for a great variety of species.
  • Potatoes are also a favourite. Many people are surprised to find out that baked potatoes (cold and opened up), roast potatoes and even mashed potatoes (unsalted and with added real fats) are all suitable foods for bids.
  • Mild grated cheese is a favourite with robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and song thrushes. It will also help wrens if you place it under hedgerows and other areas in your garden where you've noticed them feeding.

We advise you to avoid setting out food with added salt as it isn’t good for birds. Using a bird table and putting out small quantities at a time will also stop the food attracting rats.

blue tit bird

Did you know?

Each year, thousands of people across Scotland take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - a national survey of garden birds. Participants spend one hour over a weekend in January counting the variety of species they see in their garden and then tell us what they see.

In 2014, the top five garden birds recorded in Central Scotland were: House sparrow, chaffinch, starling, blackbird and the blue tit.

Give nature a home

For more top tips on giving nature a home in your garden or outdoor space and for lots of fun activities for children and families to get involved in to learn more about the creatures that share our homes, visit RSPB online

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