Spring is normally the time we associate with birds. Then they tend to be in full voice, seeking mates and defending territories in the gardens of England
But winter is also a season when said gardens should be alive with the comings and goings of a multitude of birds because these small, green spaces can be the difference between life and death.
So every garden, whatever its condition, should have something to offer the birds.
Most people like to see the blue tits squabbling on the bird feeders; they also hunt for over-wintering insects – some beneficial, some not – and act like an environmentally-friendly pesticide.
Blackbirds are also beneficial, although I do sometimes wonder why they have to make such a mess, digging their way through the soil in beds and borders.
Some birds – like the sparrowhawk, for example – aren’t popular with all garden owners, but the meat-eaters helps maintain a healthy population of other birds by weeding out the old and infirm.
Each garden on its own may be small, but together they form a mosaic of habitats for wildlife. So, get in on the act – plant a small tree to provide food and shelter. To make things even more inviting, create a pond to act as a magnet for wildlife. And issue the invitation to all birds – put out food (and fresh water) every day, and they will come.