Image of a fox sat amongst the daffodils

Spring Birdwatching: Transforming Your Urban Garden into a Bird Haven

Living in a seaside town during the winter months can be a bit bleak but beauty can be found everywhere if you search hard enough for it. Come the months of March, April and May though it is a completely different story.

Two blocks down at the end of my street lie the River Humber, an estuary; awash with wading birds and sea life. It’s strange to think that we are lucky enough to live so close to water, but the Humber is a busy commercial river with boats, ships, tankers and ferries passing by all day depending on tide times of course. I remember the first time I saw a passenger ferry sailing past the end of my street, even though it’s about a mile away, it still seemed surreal.

Living amongst rows and rows of terraced housing doesn’t sound like there’s much wildlife to be found, but urban wildlife can be just as exciting.

Many a night I can see foxes poke their heads around street corners to see if the way ahead is clear - they are certainly getting much braver and can even be seen in the early morning as daybreak appears and just before rush hour begins. 

Image of a fox say amongst daffodils

With a park two minutes from my front door, the sound of crows and seagulls makes for a very noisy dawn chorus. Luckily for us, the park has a wooded area where squirrels can be seen, but best of all it has a substantial artificial pond. Built by the Victorians and still enjoyed by the locals today - mallards and swans are everyday visitors. When I was younger, the park had aviaries and I can still remember a very cheeky mynah bird which entertained children. All gone now, though, I am afraid, including the archway made of a whalebone jaw, but happy memories for those of us old enough to remember.

With all this concrete about I personally don’t have much green space at home but I’ve tried to make my garden as wildlife-friendly as possible. I love to attract butterflies and my evergreen hedge certainly seems to attract the Common Blue. Although I am hoping to attract even more with my container-grown Buddleia. I made this into a standard last year and I’m waiting to see what this year's flowers will bring. 

Image of a buddleia

Containers are a great way to garden if space is limited and many shrubs and plants can be planted in them just as in a garden. Lavender is an especially good one to plant to attract bees.

One half of my garden is surrounded by a high wall but is covered by a lovely hedge with a rose entwined through it. The wall seems to be a favourite hiding place for snails but I refuse to use any kind of pesticides or pellets in my garden so I have to keep an eye on my plants. After the rain, I usually go out and check for them and round them up in a bucket and release them again into the far side of the garden. Not a job I can say I enjoy and part of me knows that they will just slide their way back over to where I found them, but it gives me satisfaction knowing that I’m not using any chemicals. 

Image of a yellow privett hedge with a blue sky in the back ground

I’ve even seen bats circling around when out in the garden at dusk. I’ve no idea where they’re roosting but with a park just a few yards away, I’m guessing that’s their home. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but I don’t mind them at all and just think they’re misunderstood.

Over the last few nights, I’ve heard a very low humming noise coming from my attic. After taking a look outside I can see, right at the top of my house, some activity where the noise is coming from. I’m not sure at this point whether they are bees or wasps or even if they are in my attic or inside the bricks. My head is telling me to call pest control but my heart is saying well they need a home too. They are so high up they’re not bothering me at all and for the time being, I shall leave them alone. After trying to attract them into the garden it seems a shame to consider having them exterminated. Maybe I should feel honoured that they have chosen my space to live in?

Written by Angela

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