Tweet Street

Welcome to our Tweet Street project page!

The clue’s in the name! For this exciting new project we’ll be focusing on how to attract and protect all the wonderful birds we’re lucky enough to see in our gardens. We launched our project in January 2024 by encouraging everyone to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. This is what we found:

In the graph shown above, the dark blue lines represent the average number of birds sighted in a total of 31 Wilderhood Watch gardens. The light blue lines represent the average number of birds sighted in a total of 8 Lancaster/Gurney Court rd gardens. It is interesting to see that our blue tit and wood pigeon populations are doing well, but our sparrows (scroll down for information on ‘sparrow terraces’) and chaffinches are definitely in need of some help. There were no bullfinch sightings at all, unlike previous years.

At the moment we’re seeing quite a few goldfinches, and greenfinches are especially prevalent in Lancaster Rd. This could all change with Network Rail’s intensive program of topping and cutting down trees along the railway cutting running between Lancaster and Gurney Court roads, so we’re very aware of the urgency involved in creating more nesting and foraging opportunities in our gardens for these birds.

Participating streets so far:

By providing enough food, water and habitat, and gardening without chemicals (including slug pellets), you can keep birds safe and happy in your garden all year round. Here are some tips from the experts at the RSPB, Wildlife and Woodland Trusts:

Planting

Have a wide variety of trees, shrubs and flowers to help create the perfect conditions in your garden for birds to thrive. Here are some favourites!

  • Ivy and honeysuckle (they provide berries, dense cover and hibernating insects for a tasty snack)
  • Rowan, hawthorn, holly and guelder rose (they provide berries, shelter and nesting sites)
  • Fruit trees
  • Mahonia
  • A wildflower meadow to attract insects that birds like to feed on.
  • Teasel, sunflowers, knapweed and meadowsweet (leave the seed heads intact)

Top tips: if you don’t have room to plant a tree, consider planting a native hedge instead. And by planting for pollinators you’ll be creating an automatic food source for birds! Follow the links for more information.

Bird feeders

As birds’ natural food sources are currently being lost through human activity much faster than we can replace them, bird feeders are for now pretty much a necessity. This is especially the case through the winter months and breeding season. Position them in a quiet, sheltered spot, close to cover but away from places where predators can hide. If you own a cat, putting a bell on its collar will help to alert the birds of its presence, as will moving your feeders around. This will stop their position becoming too well known. Keeping your cat inside around dusk and dawn during the breeding season will also help to keep baby bird fatalities to a minimum.

You can fill your feeders with:

  • sunflower hearts (siskins, house sparrows, robins, finches)
  • niger seeds (siskins, greenfinches, goldfinches)
  • mealworms, dried or live (blackbirds, starlings, robins)
  • peanuts (tits, finches,siskins)

If possible have more than one station and put one on the ground for birds such as blackbirds and chaffinches. Keep them topped up and clean regularly with hot soapy water.

Top tip: invest in a squirrel proof bird feeder!

Water

A year round source of clean water is vital for all the animals in your garden. Offer it in a saucer balanced on an upturned pot, a bird bath and/or best of all, a pond.

Top tip: invest in a water butt to collect rainwater from your down pipe.

Nesting boxes

  • Open-fronted nest boxes – these are ideal for robins or wrens, and should be placed low to the ground, hidden by shrubs and other plants.
  • Classic small-holed nest boxes – these are the traditional nest boxes, featuring a small hole at the top for birds to enter through. They are suitable for a wide variety of small garden birds and should be placed 2-4 metres up a tree or wall.
  • Sparrow terraces – designed for sparrows who breed in colonies, these nest boxes or ‘sparrow terraces’ are basically three nest boxes in one. They should be placed high up, under the eaves of the roof.

And for specific information on swifts, check out our Swift Action project!

Top tip: Put a nestbox plate around your nestbox hole for added protection from predators!

If you’d like a garden visit from our Wildlife Garden Champions to give you some advice on how you could make your garden more bird friendly, please contact nadia@wilderhoodwatch.org.