May, 2015

Homes for Wildlife

Homes for Wildlife
If you love the creatures in your garden, you'll love our Homes for Wildlife project. This is the place to ask and answer questions about making your backyard wildlife-friendly.

Gardening for wildlife

Follow the adventures of Adrian Thomas, our wildlife gardening expert, and be inspired to create your own wildlife haven on your doorstep. Adrian posts here every Monday and Friday without fail, so make it a date and drop by!
  • Living in a creche

    This rather gorgeous speckled little thing came visiting my garden boudoir this week for the first time.

    It's a sight that makes my heart sing because it means that a pair of Robins has been successful, either in the garden or nearby. They've managed to build a nest, lay the eggs, raise the chicks and get them to the point where at least this one youngster has popped out into the big wide world.That's no mean feat.

    Some of you may not get to see Robins in this very short-lived toddler plumage - pretty cute, no?

    In fact, all over the garden young birds are starting to appear. This was a Dunnock fledgling yesterday.

    Notice the fleshy pink base to the bill, the remnants of the coloured flanges which help signal to its parents where the food deliveries need to go!

    And here, up in my Magnolia, was another fresh face, a young Great Tit, fleshy flanges also still showing, and still with just two bird words that it has learnt - 'Feed me, feed me'.

    Sure enough, in came the dutiful parents to satisfy their demanding offspring.

    I hope you are all having such moments of delight in your garden. Saving nature starts here, as the next generation emerges

  • Welcome to my garden boudoir

    When it comes to having a good wash and scrub up, my garden is currently the place to be. Take a look at this:

    If you can make it out, it is a Blue Tit getting itself in a right lather. See how it tosses its head about violently in order to create as much splash as possible. Oh, how it rekindles happy memories of bath-time as a kid.

    The bedraggled result was this:

    It's a wonder their feathers ever get back into order.

    And it's not just the Blue Tits; the Robins have been having a good long soak too:

    ...as have the Blackbirds

    Perhaps you can work out what the 'spa of choice' in these parts. Yes, this year's deluxe model is an old, upturned dustbin lid, propped up on a few bricks, and with some pebbles and a perching rock inside so the bathers don't slip about.

    It may be cheap but it fulfils all the golden rules of birdbaths: wide, shallow, slightly elevated and good visibility.

    It's clearly so good that I've started using it myself; photos of that next week...(not!).

  • Wildlife gets set to come indoors at Gardeners World Live

    Although the BBC will turn their attention to Chelsea next week (the Flower Show, not the football team) in a blaze of publicity and celebrities, our hard-working Events Team of staff and volunteers have been at it again in their secret bunker in Bedfordshire, pulling together their feature garden ready for Gardeners World Live.

    This annual giant of a show is at the NEC, Birmingham, from 11-14 June, and I know many of you like to pop in to say hello and have a chat on the RSPB stand, so here is a little taster of what April and the team have been preparing.

    Now I have to explain here that the team likes to tantalise me so I'm only fed snippets of what they're up to. I'm told that this year's garden, which is always one of the largest in the indoor arena, will feature everything including the kitchen sink. Literally!

    Yes, apparently it takes the idea of giving nature a home and applies it to a house...

    ...with a wardrobe bug hotel (ah, so that explains the photo below) and bath-tub pond dipping,

    There will be lots of recyclables in a kitchen (which I think is what is coming together in the next photo, but you can make up your own mind!). And I'm promised there will be plants galore.

    Gardeners World Live presents us with a great opportunity for getting out that message to a large audience that everyone can do something to give nature a home. Hopefully, by putting in this effort each year in such creative ways, more and more people will feel inspired to give nature a home.

    If you've never been, Gardeners World Live is a great day out, packed with inspiration, plant shopping and, as we've now seen, something you've probably never seen before courtesy of the RSPB!