Category Archives: Bird Friendly Plants



I too have lost loads of primal petals to cheeky house sparrows… They seem to love the blue ones but they haven’t demolished the yellow or red ones… I find it most peculiar because the only chomp on the main colour but leave the yellow centres! Are they just discerning diners?


Rachel got in touch because she read this post –

I still find it amazing what birds eat.  Rachel has called the sparrows ‘discerning diners’.  It could be that they are.  We don’t know, but  I do remember reading that birds do need herbs / certain plants that are in the wild and  other natural things to keep healthy and to breed healthily.




Nest sites for birds are important, but just as important are places where birds can shelter and roost

As well as providing nesting sites, a thick row of hedges  gives birds really good protection against wind, rain and snow.

We have a laurel hedge that has a wooden fence behind it. This gives two fold protection. The hedge stops the bad weather and the fence gives ‘double insulation’.

My laurel hedge is not as healthy as it was. I want to get it sorted, but it’s made me think about planting another hedge for the future.

Some of the hawthorn hedges nearby be are, I’m sure, older than me! They give shelter to a lot of birds.

When I was a youngster we played along the grass verges and hedgerows. The hedges were mature and old then. This would be  about 50 years ago. They were our playground. These same hedgerows are still there – just the same as they were 50 years. ago. So goodness knows how old they are. But it is certain that year after year, after year  –  for over 50 years these hedges have been giving birds nesting sites, roosting sites, food and shelter!

Whoever planted them should have got a medal.

If you plant a hedge it is there for years.

Our laurel hedge is evergreen ( as are all laurel hedges!). Evergreen hedges give protection to birds all year round.

 In the winter months birds can spend as many as 16 hours at their roosts! So providing a bush or hedge is particularly important for the winter months and will surely make life easier for our garden birds. I bet it’s true to say that it will even save the lives of some birds.

 I get a lot of birds roosting in our laurel hedge. It is thick, high and old.  

Some good evergreen foliage is

  • Holly
  • rhododendron
  • laurel
  • Beech grown as a hedge it keeps it leaves.
  • Ivy covered trees are populare roosting sites for birds.
  • A bramble patch is a popular roosting site with sparrows and finches.

As well as giving protection some shrubs and hedges give food for birds as well. More of that another day.

Laurel Hedge Problem – Have you had the same problem?

We have a laurel hedge that a lot of birds use for nesting and for roosting on a night in winter. 

We are having a problem with this hedge and have asked advice from RV Rogers, Nurserymen,  at Pickering, North Yorkshire.  They have given us very good advice.

Here are some photos of our problem.  Has anyone else got the same problem or have more advice on how to get our healthy hedge back

There is also a photo of a plum tree that has the same disease

Laurel Hedge needing Help

Photo Number 2

Problem with our Laurel Hedge

Plum Tree with the same disease

Plum Tree Needing Help


In March last year I heard someone saying that sparrows were getting all her pansy petals


A year later I hear about the same thing happening. Kaya said –

i have a birdfeeder on my little balcony and lately to my horror(!) the sparrows have started demolishing all my primrose petals when the birdfeeder is empty. have i started a disaster? what should i do?!

  • Trish said,

    The sparrows could be hungry.

    Also, I read somewhere that sparrows extract juice from primroses as they like and need it.  You could make sure there is always some water there for them as they could be thirsty.  If there was water they may not pinch your pansie petals.

    You could fill the feeder more often if that is possible.

    If you really don’t want the sparrows visiting you could put something up that moves in the wind and will stop them visiting.

  • It is a hectic time for all birds, the nesting season is here and they are using a lot of energy feeding themselves, making a nest and just trying to survive. Maybe pansies appear at just the right time of year to help sparrows survive. Maybe that is the wonder of nature and you are part of it.


    This is the first article about it  –


    ‘Don’t put that plant  outside because all those pesky sparrows always eat the pansy petals.  What a nuisance they are. Pesky sparrows – why are there so many of them?’

    It’s Mothers Day and  for the first time in ages I went to a Mothers Day Service at the village Church.  It was a happy affair with children singing and clapping a song.  There were also hymns and prayers.  There were candles that people lighted in memory of mothers or any special person who were no longer here on Earth

    At the end of the service we were all given a pansy plant in a pot.

    One pal of mine said to me ‘Don’t put that plant  outside because all those pesky sparrows always eat the pansy petals.  What a nuisance they are. Pesky sparrows – why are there so many of them?’

    Sparrows eating pansy flower petals?  I was curious and have been reading. I’ve found out that although the pansy is a relatively trouble free plant sparrows sometimes do eat pansies.  I will let you know what happens to mine.

    Knapweed for Birds

    Greater knapweed - seeds for birds

    Knapweed grows wild in the countryside  and many birds including goldfinches and other finches feed on the seeds.

    Why not try this colourful wildflower in your garden.   They flower year after year and so provide seeds for wild birds year after year.

    An old bush and a bit of lawn

    When the snow was coming thick and fast this area of lawn and the old bush was a haven for the garden birds.  I put bird food under the snow covered bush.  I also put a piece of wood up against the  snow covered bush to make a sort of ‘tent’ that I could put bird food under – this kept the food free from snow.  Now the snow has gone this piece of ground looks a bit weary.

    In need of care and attention

    In need of care and attentionAfter the snow has melted

    When the snow was here it was the most active place in the garden.  The snow has now gone and thes pictures  above show this area needs come care and attention.

    The grass is chewed up and the bush looks a little sad.

    When it was covered in snow it was a haven for birds.

    Searching for dood

    Searching for food

    This is how deep the snow was and the only way to feed the birds was to keep one small area of garden clear.   Which is what I did.  Now I’ll give that patch of earth a rest!


    Hedgerow Diversity

    Should we put our hedgerows to work for diversity of hedgerow species? 

    This could be on farmland, in gardens, perhaps in parks.

    In the North of England where I live  a lot of the hedges are Hawthorn.  Another name for Hawthorn is Quickthorn because it grows quickly.  They were planted to make good stockproof boundaries. 

    Could we also grow other  productive hedges such as –

    • bramble (blackberry)
    • tayberry
    • elder
    • plum
    • damson
    • greengage
    • pears
    • cherries
    • gooseberries – can produce dense thorny hedges

    Once established fruit hedges should grow and prosper with no input of fertilisers or sprays.


    In the United States the blackberry is valued and yields can be high.

    On the Isle of Wight some hedgerows near public footpaths are made up of a lot of native fruit


    What do you think?

    Leave a comment here or go to my new forum.  Am trying to build up a place where we can meet and exchange tips and advice



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    Blackbirds and hawberries

     I’ve just been watching two blackbirds who seemed as though they didn’t have a care in the world. 

    They were flying in and out of a Hawthorn Hedge which runs along a lane.  As they perched on branches inside the hedge they pecked red haw berries off the branches.  They quickly picked a berry, turned their heads and picked another. 

    I was stood close to them on the grass verge near the hedge but they didn’t seem to notice me.

    It was good to see the Haw berries were providing a much needed breakfast feast for these two birds.    

    Last week I saw a bird of prey flying along the same stretch of hedge, but I suppose that is life.

    Fruit for birds

    One way to feed birds is to plant a variety of native  shrubs or even hedges.  This is natural food for birds.

    Next time you are at a Garden Centre – think British bird

    A bush needs planting once and provides fruit and shelter for garden birds for years.

    Some of the birds that enjoy berry bearing bushes are

    • thrushes
    • blackbirds
    • starlings
    • finches
    • tits
    • robins and
    • pigeons
    • You may also attract waxwings, redwings or field fares – winter visitors

    British species support more insect life thatn non native and are more attractive to birds.

    Planting bushes in the garden also gives cover to birds as well as providing bird food every year.

    One bush is –

    BLACKBERRY OR BRAMBLE (rubus fruticosus)  . Native.

    If you have room for a bramble patch in your garden it will be used by birds allthrough the year.

    Some of the birds that eat the fruit are – starlings, bullfinches, great tits and blue tits.

    Nesting – Blackbirds, warblers, thrushes, long tailed tits, finches and dunnocks will nest in the safety of its prickly branches.

    Roosting – In Autumn and winter finches and sparrows will gather in the brample hedge to roost.

    To keep the bramble bush / bramble patch thick and attractive to brids trimthe long branches each year to stop them roosting


    I will give more bird friendly plant information next week.