Results of the RSPB’s 2024 Big Garden Birdwatch

It would have been really helpful if we had posted about the RSPB’s BGB (which is surprisingly easy to say ten times fast) before it ended on the 28th of January, for which we can only apologize and try to make it up to you with this inspirational picture of Britain inhabited by cheery penguins that use cutesy spelling to beguile passing Tuxedo customers.

Tragically, penguins did not even make the top ten in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch this year, despite everyone’s best efforts to encourage more of them in our gardens.

The top spot for most common bird in the UK is the common sparrow, Passer domesticus, followed by blue tits, wood pigeons, and every soft-fruit cage vendor’s favourite: starlings.

Almost all bird populations tracked by the RSPB have been in decline since their Birdwatch records began in 1979.
The RSPB share some top tips on encouraging birds, which focus on the immediate necessities of providing food & water using feeders in winter.
But on top of that, birds need nesting spaces, and during the warmer months most of them feed heavily on insects, so the more bugs in your garden, the better (by the way, almost nothing attracts insects to your garden as well as a nice pond does).

By the purest and most unlikely of happy coincidences, we happen to know of a long-term, cost-effective structure in which birds can nest while feeding on insects in summer, and which (when mature) makes a decent place to hang bird feeders & water bowls in winter.

This wondrous device is a hedge! What are the odds?

Now, any hedge is better than no hedge for a bird in need, but some hedges are much better than others for nesting, and for supplying grub.

The best hedges for birds contain a mix of species containing a good proportion of thorny plants to keep out predators. A mixed hedge will provide the longest season of flowers & fruit, and support more insects than a single-species hedge.
To give the most wildlife value, the mix should also be “mostly native”; many birds migrate, so it’s fine to throw in some non-native species if you like, especially if they are European.

Our bird friendly hedge mix is designed with all that in mind: it contains 9 species (of which at least 7 or 8 are native) with some seriously thorny Hawthorn, Blackthorn, and wild rose in there, all producing abundant berries, nuts, and making homes for all manner of ready-to-snack creepy crawlies.

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