Wildlife garden - where to start?

My garden can only be described as 'wild' in the sense that in the 20 years I have lived here apart from plant a forsythia, through which an old honeysuckle rambles in the summer, and add a pond (now rather overgrown, but home to frogs) about 10 years and three miniature conifers (now about 8ft tall) and a veg patch about 14ft x 12ft I have done nothing apart from periodically hack the grass down in the summer. However the birds seem to like it, visiting the feeding stations from dawn to dusk. At times the garden resembles starling central (can have up to 20 at any one time), a pair of magpies visit regularly through the day as do a couple of blackbirds, pied wagtails, robins, sparrows, a blue tit occasionally stops off en route to next door's feeders and this past week two missel thrushes have started to visit. Jackdaws and rooks also visit daily and have been observed teaching their young the best way to feed from the suet ball feeders suspended from an old washing line. I would really like to improve my garden but don't want to deter the birds who do visit and would love to attract more. Where do I start? The garden is approximately 120ft x 20 ft narrowing to about 15ft and ends in a gravel driveway. The garden faces just north of east so has a shady area close to the house once the sun passes over and in winter parts of the garden nearest the house receive little direct sun. We live on the outskirts of a small town in the west country with open fields about 500 metres away. Sorry to ramble but any ideas what I do to encourage more birds and yet have a garden I am happy to entertain in (once we have locked up the two resident bantams of course)?
  • Welcome A, your garden space sounds like a haven!!  Are you able to post some pics to aid our thought processes?

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Hello Adele, and welcome from me up in the very far north of Scotland, in Caithness. It is important that you have some trees or bushes around where you feed, so that that birds have some cover. They will fly back and fore to the feeders. Try hanging different feeders and feed a variety of food, seeds, nuts, sunflower hearts, Niger seed as well as fat balls and cakes. They also love home made pastry. Buy the shops own brand flour and fat and mix 250g flour and 125g fat with a splash of water. Add to that seed, suet, chopped fruit, grated cheese anything that you fancy. Put it in the fridge for a few hours and you can either fill feeders with it or pull of pieces and squeeze it around branches. Happy birding, I am sure they will come.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to Catlady:

    Hello Adele and welcome from me too (in Cheshire)   - perhaps you could divide the garden and leave half of it (including the pond which obviously has active creatures in there) in the wilder state that the birds frequent and clear the other half for your own use with some flower border/shrub area and lawn and for a feeding station so you can sit and watch the birds when they take the food.    There are a lot of gardening experts on here so I'm sure you will be guided in the right direction.    As Wendy says,  a few photos would help greatly to give us an idea of the layout and current planting, etc.,  

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Hi Adele, welcome from me as well from Tameside. Your garden sounds like heaven! And ahold project too! Sounds like you already have an abundance of wildlife and the pond will help as well. Photos would be great to post up! Good luck :)

    Cheers, Jason

  • In reply to Jason:

     some pics of my garden. 

    Cheers, Jason

  • In reply to Jason:

    If you click on the image it'll display normal way lol

    Cheers, Jason

  • Will try and get some photos uploaded over the weekend - my technical assistant is currently playing football and if I attempt it you will be waiting forever.  I would hardly describe my garden as a haven - an overgrown mess more like, but thank you.

  • In reply to adele1956:

    Maybe a haven for wildlife :)

    Cheers, Jason

  • In reply to Jason:

    They still come out sideways on my laptop, so just in case...

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)

     

  • In reply to monkeycheese:

    Cheers MC

    Cheers, Jason