Over the last week I’ve had the pleasure of visiting two very different and wonderful gardens of people who are diligently and ambitiously giving nature a home.
Having now led you (up the garden path, you might say) into thinking I’m about to divulge everything about my visits, I’m going to leave you dangling as they will feature in Nature’s Home magazine in due course.
But I thought I would share this little titbit. Here is one of the creatures that turned up in one of the gardens I visited.
For those who know their sparrows, the ‘love spot’ on the cheek of this bird and its chestnut crown give it away as being a Tree Sparrow. (The fact that it’s in a tree is kind of incidental – there were House Sparrows in the same tree only moments before!).
This is one of the bird species whose declines in the last 30 years have been most dramatic. To get onto the official Red List, declines need to be of the order of 50%; for the Tree Sparrow, its numbers fell by 95% between 1970 and 1998.
For all the background about their declines, and their very modest recent recovery, check out the RSPB website here. But for this Giving Nature a Home blog, the important fact is that if you have a species regularly visiting your garden that is in such dire straits, it can give you an immediate focus for your efforts.
In the garden I visited, the homeowner is going to help her Tree Sparrows by putting up nestboxes with 28mm holes around her hedgerows and by planting areas with annual flowers that will be seed-rich in winter.
Do you have something unusual visit your garden that you’re making special effort to help, be it widespread but declining species such as Hedgehogs, or something really rare? It would be lovely to hear.
  • Hi Sylvia. So do you have a large garden in the west of the UK, or a mountain garden? Or a large conifer tree where they breed? Or are the ravens a new arrival in your area now they are expanding their range eastwards after decades of persecution had pushed them out?

  • Maybe not so rare, but I have ravens in my garden!

  • Bats, it was two or three years before we knew we had a summer roosts in the eves of our house. The local Bat Group paid us a visit and identified the bats as common Pipistrelles. They explained about their decline and suggested ways we could help our bats. I planted to attract insects and we left 'bat friendly' spaces in the eves of the buildings we are renovating.

    We were pleasantly surprised at how much wildlife was attracted by a small change in what was planted. For the past four years we have had Spotted flycatchers breeding in the garden. I wonder if this was down to the planting or luck? Either way they we feel privileged to have them.