Feeders are available to hold
peanuts or mixed seeds and attract a range of smaller birds
such as tits, sparrows and finches. Window feeders will
even attract birds to the upper storeys of flats in urban
areas, and once the feeder has been located, birds will
continue to use it regularly. As with all bird feeding,
keep it up all through the year. It is important to
remember that birds need fresh water at all times. Small
terracotta water dishes that attach to a wall or fence are
available from a variety of suppliers. One of these,
regularly replenished with fresh water, could bring birds to
drink and bathe.
you live in a flat a nest box attached to the wall outside your window can
also bring blue tits or great tits to your home, and watching them build
their nests and rear their young can provide a huge amount of pleasure.
Tits will use a box several storeys from the ground. This can be
particularly effective if you also have a balcony where a few plants
including container grown climbers will create a good general environment
for small birds. Make sure you have professional help to safely attach
the box to the wall which should be located to face between north-east and
balcony opens up all sorts of possibilities. By choosing wildlife
friendly plants, including wildflowers (see list) you could attract
honeybees, bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies and a good range of birds.
Group your containers together to create shelter for wildlife and make
watering more efficient. Try to include a climber such as a leafy, small
flowered Clematis or an ivy, which could make a nest site for a wren or
robin. Choose nectar and pollen producing plants for your containers –
these could include displays of bedding plants and bulbs from the list.
If you have room on a sunny balcony, a dwarf variety of Buddleia, cut back
to the ground early every spring, will attract butterflies such as small
tortoiseshells and red admirals. A sunny window box, with carefully
selected wildlife friendly bedding plants or smaller wildflowers will
attract some visiting insects. Or you could plant herbs, many of which
are very attractive to wildlife and a useful addition to the kitchen. Try
winter savoury, golden marjoram, chives and trailing thyme all of which
are a magnet for bees and butterflies. Annual nasturtiums will add
colour, attract bumblebees, and large and small white butterflies may lay
their eggs on the leaves of this particular plant. You can keep the herbs
neat and healthy by cutting them back in early spring each year and
mulching with organic compost.
of the above ideas can be used in a small garden as well as being adapted
to your work place. A bird feeder or drinking saucer just outside the
window of your rest room may be a welcome and relaxing distraction during
break time. If there is communal planting around your work place, you may
be able to suggest wildlife friendly alternative plants, or encourage
environmentally friendly garden management. If there are trees or fencing
around, nest boxes for tits, robins, wrens or even bats could be added.
wildlife and the environment in which you live are really important to
you, your local Urban Wildlife Group could have a lot to offer you. These
groups often maintain community gardens and green spaces which you can
visit and become involved with if you don't have a garden of your own.
The list below has
wildlife-friendly plants that are particularly recommended for containers
or small gardens
Annuals - Baby blue eyes,
Californian poppy, candytuft, cornflower varieties, echium, English
marigold, French marigold, nasturtiums, night scented stock, poached egg
– Dahlias (small single types), forget-me-not, heliotrope, impatiens,
lobelia, pansy, petunia (blue or white), sweet william, tobacco plant,
verbena (especially bonariensis), wallflower.
Bluebell, crocus, sedum, squill, winter aconite.
– Broad leaved everlasting pea, small flowered clematis, honeysuckle, ivy.
Cottage garden plants
- Aubretia, catmint, erigeron, evening primrose (small varieties), lamium,
lungwort, sweet rocket, valerian.
Borage, chives, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, sage,
thyme, winter savory.
– Buddleia (dwarf varieties), Ceratostigma, heather, Hebe (small
(for tiny ponds) – Brooklime, duckweed, fringed water lily, lesser
spearwort, water lily (dwarf varieties).
– Bird’s foot trefoil, cornflower, field scabious, greater knapweed,
lady’s smock, primrose, rockrose, small scabious, wild marjoram, wild