I read an article in the Times today that stated ‘Legend has it that St Valentine’s Day is when the birds choose their mates’. Perhaps the birds in my garden are a bit forward because they certainly seem to have paired up already. In fact it was only yesterday that I was pondering over a bit of a puzzle; I have recently moved house and now have a small, riverside garden. At the moment it only has one tree and a few shrubs in it. It brings me great delight to see that I have Blue tits coming in and out of the nesting box. This got me thinking about birds and what plants/environments actually attract them. I think that it is a more complex subject than we are ever led to believe. My one and only tree is a Gingko, it is a lovely tree although it isn’t really suitable for the site. It isn’t a tree that is known for attracting wildlife. It isn’t perfumed and birds don’t seem to eat the fruit. However, I haven’t cleared the leaves away from underneath the tree so perhaps it is this area that is attracting the birds, or it could be that the river provides all the insects that the birds need and they are just looking for bed but not breakfast from their new lodgings. If I had an Ilex (Holly) or a Crataegus (Hawthorn), both being small trees that are for recommended for attracting birds, would I have more birds in my garden? If I had cleared away the leaves in the Autumn would they have gone elsewhere? Perhaps some birds just like to use a tree as a place to rest and as a good vantage point. I guess we actually just don’t know.
Garden trees that are recommended as being excellent for wildlife include: Sorbus, Ilex, Betula, Prunus, Corylus, Crataegus and Acer campestre.