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Encouraging birds to the garden

Does anyone have any advice on shrubs or trees to plant that will encourage birds please?  I have a smallish garden so would need things that grow tall rather than wide and also I have two ferocious cats so I need somewhere for the birds to safely hide.  In my old garden we had massive privet hedges which were full of birds but sadly we have no room for hedges now.


  • The birds love our holly tree, and the ivy that's growing up the trellis.  As well as providing shelter, they're both great for wildlife.

  • Hello cloud8,

    The RSPB has a good list of shrubs that will attract birds, often by attracting insects first, which the birds can then feed on. You'll need to look each one up (or ask another question about them on the forum) to make sure it's suitable for the conditions in your garden.

    I hope you'll soon have plenty of hiding places for your feathered friends.

    Emma team

  • although we have a small garden without hedges |I have recently cut back some overgrowth and discovered a thorny shrub growing into our garden from next door.  I have put fat balls and feeders in the hedge and today we had blue tit's, great tits, chaffinches blackbirds and thrushes as well as sparrows and dunnocks visiting.  We have some revenous jackdaws who sit in wit for the little birds - one landed in the garden and tried to go for the fat balls but realised he couldn't get to them.  I don't know what it is called just that it has long thorns on it and is just coming into bud.  Hope that helps.

  • What about trying Rugosa roses? They are robust, generally flower for long periods and are thorny enough to keep the cats at bay. The flowers will encourage the insects first and then the birds can feed on the hips in the Autumn.

    Or how about Cotoneaster.Grow a variety that will spread up a wall or fence. the bees love the small flowers and the birds can feed on the berries later.

  • burhinusburhinus Posts: 58

    Unfortunately roses will not really attract the insect species beneficial to birds.

    Before planting trees think about the long term effects, blocking light, annoying the neighbours, roots growing into drains etc,  Having looked at this, some varieties of crab apple are good for birds, as is Rowan and Silver Birch. Cotoneaster is very good and so too is Elder , though not everyones favourite to have in the garden and it self sets everywhere.

    You could consider fruit bushes like Blueberry, Raspberry, but personally I would rather pick them myself, than leave them for the birds!

  • meiowmeiow Posts: 51

    I inherited a mixed hedge with some ivy in it, the blackbirds loved the berries.

  • burhinusburhinus Posts: 58

    Woodpigeons are also heavy feeders on Ivy berries.

  • meiowmeiow Posts: 51

    Hi burhinus, that would explain why some woodpigeons were at the hedge a few weeks agoimage

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