The choice of trees and shrubs at a garden centre or nursery can be rather daunting, but do try to include some native types in your garden as these will support many more of the insects that provide an important food source for garden birds. The availability of berries in our gardens in winter is also vital for flocks of hungry, foraging birds, so make sure that you include these too – on dark winter days you will be rewarded with the spectacle of both the glowing berries and busy, feasting birds. You might even be lucky enough to see colourful winter visitors such as waxwings, joining local thrushes and finches if you plant some of the following:
Some native trees and shrubs valuable to birds –
Crab apple (Malus sylvestris)
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)
Whitebeam (Sorbus aria)
Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus)
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
Silver birch (Betula pendula) and Downy birch (B. pubescens)
Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)
Wild cherry (Prunus avium)
Some non-native trees and shrubs that are still useful for birds include garden varieties of the trees and shrubs listed above, but do remember to check that they are not double-flowering cultivars which usually don’t set fruit. Examples of these include the hawthorn Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’, and the white, double-flowering cherry Prunus avium ‘Plena’.
Contact Natural Gardens for expert advice on which are the best trees and shrubs to attract birds into your garden. We have even co-written a book ‘Gardening for Birdwatchers’ with Mike Toms from the British Trust for Ornithology (ISBN: 978-1906204303).
Follow this link https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw to find out more about the BTO’s terrific Garden BirdWatch project, linking ‘citizen science’ with the very latest research on our garden birds.