Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

One question we often get asked When promoting the Big Garden Birdwatch is “why are we seeing fewer birds in the sky?”

While there are various reasons for this, one of the main problems increasingly faced by birds is loss of habitat. Indeed, one of our most sobering facts when it comes to numbers is that we have lost around 38 million birds across the UK in 40 years.

The question which often follows is “what can we do to about it to reverse this loss?”

Facing the problem of habitat destruction and loss and attempting to counter it can feel like climbing an enormous mountain. We see further additions to the red list, in rural and urban areas alike. We are also seeing our local green spaces, loved by people and nature alike, being lost through building developments and the unnecessary tidying of spaces.

When looking at the scale of this problem, asking ourselves what we can do as individuals may make us feel rather helpless. After all, wouldn’t our individual efforts be effectively a drop in the ocean, and therefore not that much of a big deal? Not necessarily.  

Giving nature a home

This week is Nest Box Week - and by joining us in putting up a nest box or two, you could be giving nature a home this spring, as our birds embark on the mating season. It’s a critical time of the year for them, as they sign their hearts out searching for a mate. So, if it’s a terrace for sociable house sparrows, or a classic box for one lucky couple of blue tits, you really can make a difference on your patch. Even ivy, a bush or a hedge with a few branches can be a haven for a family of robins or wrens with earthy brushwood nests or colourful artisan hanging nesters - perfect for roosting and nesting when springtime comes. Installing a house martin nest cup, made to the precise dimensions of nests built by house martins, could see you welcome these beautiful gliders under the eaves of your home.

Starlings, while still high-flyers in the Big Garden Birdwatch ranks, are seeing their numbers decline, especially in rural areas, resulting in them being red listed. But wherever you are, in the countryside or in one of Wales’ towns or cities, you can look after these glossy wonders with a special starlings box. Another bird which has seen devastating declines since the mid-1990s, mainly due to loss of nesting spaces is the swift. You could give a family of migrating swifts a dream welcome by installing a swift box on the side of the house.

Of course, if you’re an avid DIY person, you could always build your own!  

But the garden birds are not the only ones to see the benefits of your nest boxes.

Your garden could be transformed into a busy green space of wonder, full of activity and birdsong to grace your ears in the morning. Many of us have sought great comfort in nature over the last couple of years, especially while in lockdown. It’s accepted across the scientific world that birdsong, as well as being out in nature and green spaces, very much benefits our mental, as well as physical, wellbeing. If you are one of the many who took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this year, then putting up a nest box or two as well as a modest amount of birdfeed could make a huge difference. And why stop there? Combine your nest box revolution with the introduction of a wild corner, a flower bed or two and even a small pond if you’ve space, and your garden could be a fantastic nature hotspot within the year.

Your work in your little part of Wales really can make a real difference to the biodiversity of your local area. For sometimes, we must think small to think big.

For more information on how to help the nature on your doorstep, please visit our website and share your birdbox stories on social media using the hashtag #NationalNestBoxWeek.