Gardening and wildlife go hand in hand, and at Hedges Direct our team enjoy taking simple moments to enjoy, help and learn about the wildlife we share our nursery with.
On a rare sunny morning in January, we took a little time out to notice nature as part of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – the world’s largest wildlife survey. For over 40 years, hundreds of thousands of people have looked out for birds on the same January weekend, to help give a picture of how birds are faring across the UK.
Our 16-acre site in rural Lancashire is full year-round with beautiful hedge plants, trees and shrubs, providing plenty of food and shelter for our feathered friends.
Joe James, Hedges Direct Maintenance Manager said, “We see all sorts of birds flitting between the hedge lines – the robins are very friendly and like to follow us around. We do keep an eye on any bird activity on-site. During the nesting season, we’ll check the larger trees and hedges to make sure we aren’t disturbing a nest. If we notice a nest, we’ll cordon off the area until the chicks have fledged.”
In preparation for the birdwatch, the team set-up a bird feeding station in a quiet corner by some large trees. The RSPB website a great place to start if you aren’t sure what food to buy and want to see which birds you can tempt into your garden. We chose a selection of food and feeders suitable for a diverse range of birds. We are testing a nyger seed feeder to try and entice goldfinches and a range of nut feeders for larger birds such as nuthatches and bullfinches, as well as a mealworm tray for the ground feeders such as robin and wren.
Josh Hinchcliffe, Nursery Operative commented; “Everyone that works at the nursery cares about plants and wildlife, so it’s been nice to do a bit of birdwatching.”
Josh was keen to get involved with the birdwatch and set-up a camera next to the feeders, which captured some incredible footage of a group of long-tailed tits.
Josh said; “It’s good to know the site plays a role in supporting local wildlife, and by selling so many hedge plants we are helping our customers to create new homes for nature in their gardens.”
During our birdwatch the team counted:
- 5 x robin
- 6 x long-tailed tit
- 3 x great tit
- 7 x blue tit
- 2 x buzzard
- 1 x sparrow hawk
- 2 x starling
- 2 x wood pigeon
Hedges for wildlife
Our birds need all the help they can get, in the last 50 years we have lost more than half of the hedgerows in the UK, so planting one in your garden will really make a difference.
Hedges provide dense foliage as a perfect shelter for birds to nest in, branches decorated with an abundance of berries provide a welcome source of food, and plants with spiny foliage can protect birds from predators and keep their nests safe.
Consider native hedging such as Hawthorn, to recreate the local ecosystem within your area as much as possible. Species rich, mixed hedging will encourage greater biodiversity and support different types of wildlife. Our friends at the RSPB have approved our native hedging packs to be a huge boost for wildlife.
Choosing a wildlife friendly hedge with spiky foliage, such as Blackthorn or Holly, provides a bushy habitat that keeps food sources and nests safe from predators, such as cats or other larger birds. Planting these hedges around the base of a bird table or hanging feeder can also protect unsuspecting birds as they eat.
If you missed the birdwatch this year, you can still help your garden birds by putting out plenty of food and fresh water. Keep an eye on who comes to visit – it’s a great way to take time out and protect our wildlife for the gardeners of the future.