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Tips on helping endangered birds

The RSPB is advising wild life watchers on how to help take care of some of our most endangered garden birds.

The results from the annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey 2013 show numbers of house sparrows, starlings and song thrushes have fallen.

Now the RSPB is advising how to manage gardens to support them.

The author of RSPB Gardening for Wildlife, Adrian Thomas, said: “Gardens can offer a real lifeline for wildlife. 

“Just doing a few simple things in our gardens can mean they provide food, shelter and nesting spaces for birds, which are most vital for the species that are struggling.”

Here Adrian gives his tips on helping the struggling species.

House sparrow:

Try leaving some areas of grass to grow long. You can still give it neat edges and make a design feature of it, but crucially this will allow certain insects to thrive and the grasses to set seed. Or why not plant deciduous shrubs where are likely to gather for a good natter? They love a vegetable patch too.


In summer starlings seek out insects such as beetles, flies, flying ants and worms, and especially leatherjackets, so gardens with a lawn will help. In autumn they love fruit like elderberries, so try planting an elder tree. 

You could also put up a starling nestbox high up on the shady side of a house, which is a large box at least 25cm deep with a 45mm round hole.

Song thrush:

Plant berry-bearing bushes and try to avoid sweeping up all the leaf litter as they’ll hop around in it, flicking over leaves to find food. 

They like moist and shady areas, and will really benefit from a garden full of worms and snails, so keep up the mulches in your flower beds, which will help you control weeds too.

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