From bird health to hedgehogs: get to know more about Britain’s garden birds, mammals and invertebrates with our growing library of articles. Alongside practical tips and know-how, you’ll discover birding facts and wild musings from writers like Nick Baker, Simon King and David Tomlinson. Take a fresh look at your garden visitors – there’s a whole world of wildlife right outside your window.
A confusion of wagtails - distinguishing an elegant trio
Of all of our native birds, none are as misleadingly named as the wagtails. Yes, they do all wag their tails but that’s the only helpful bit of the name. Take the grey wagtail for example.
There was a time when badgers were regarded as rare garden visitors.But with the doubling of Britain’s badger population over the past two decades, that’s no longer the case.
Bats are our mystery mammals. Their black silhouettes flickering across a sunset are familiar enough to anyone living in the countryside, but naming the species is a trick beyond most of us.
Bats in your garden
Count yourself lucky if you see bats in your garden for these mysterious and much maligned mammals have declined alarmingly in our countryside in recent years.
Bees create a buzz
Entomologist Chris O’Toole discusses the diversity of our native bees, the threats they face and what we can do to help.
Bigger means better
Most of us start feeding our garden birds with just a single feeder before adding a second or a third.
Birds are nature’s barometer
The importance of wild birds as barometers of the health of the countryside has long been recognised.
Blackcap sings sweetly
Few birds have a sweeter song than the blackcap, one of the first summer migrants to return to our shores.
Of all insects, none has quite the same aesthetic appeal as a butterfly. Take, for example, the red admiral, one of Britain’s commonest and most widespread butterflies.
Caring for wild birds is easy
In natural conditions birds are remarkably tough and robust creatures.
Doves versus pigeons
Ask an ornithologist the difference between a dove and pigeon and you’re unlikely to get a clear-cut answer.
Feathering their nest
Why do birds nest? Great question – and it’s all tied in to their reptilian ancestry.
Anyone who feeds birds in their garden will have noticed that the number of customers they receive varies considerably from month to month, as well as year to year.
Amazing springtime offer
Get more goldfinches
Of all Britain’s finches, none is prettier or more charming than the goldfinch.
Great spotted woodpecker: hello handsome
It is often argued that ornithologists tend to dwell too much on rare or declining birds and ignore those that are flourishing.
Stay balanced: feeding hedgehogs safely
Scientific research warns against over-indulging hedgehogs with too many mealworms. We explain why it’s vital to maintain a healthy balance when you’re feeding these much-loved mammals in
Hedgehogs at large
Many of us enjoy regular visits from hedgehogs and do our best to encourage them. Some of us even become quite fond of ‘our’ hedgehog, often getting to know them individually.
Hedgehogs: much-loved mystery mammals
Hands down, the hedgehog is one of our best-loved mammals. But despite latest scientific studies it remains a creature of considerable mystery.
House martins and swallows
It’s difficult to think of the familiar house martin as a mystery bird, but it is.
One great mystery surrounds the hedgehog. For an animal that reputedly eats slugs and snails, why doesn’t it eat more of them? Many of us have gardens containing sufficient slugs and snails to
Insects: friends not foes
Insects surround us in astonishing variety and diversity but few of us take much notice of them except when there’s a spider in the bath or a wasp on our picnic.
Our gardens have many unseen mammalian visitors. Some, like badgers and foxes, leave evidence of their passing but others, such as mice, voles and shrews, can be daily visitors that are rarely seen.
Jackdaw: clown of the crows
As a rule, not many of us welcome members of the crow family to our gardens. There is, however, one exception - the jackdaw.Its name reflects its size: the jackdaw is the smallest of the British cro
Elaborate construction The term ‘bird’s nest’ covers many different structures – from a shallow depression in the ground or makeshift pile of vegetation to bowls, domes a
Long-tailed tits: unpredictable charm
There are few more charming visitors to the garden than the long-tailed tit, nor any that are more unpredictable. If your garden is within the territory of a family of long-tails, then daily visits a
Mice, bats & badgers: night visitors
Most of us are familiar with the day-time visitors to the garden - but once we draw the curtains we have little idea of either the numbers or variety of nocturnal visitors.Yellow-necked fieldmice fr
Mistle thrush is early nester
On a wet and miserable January morning it’s cheering to hear the sound of a mistle thrush proclaiming his territory.
Nest Boxes - FAQ
Is my garden suitable for nest boxes?All gardens can offer nest boxes for small birds.
"Bath time" by Nick Baker
Bathing in the dust – and the sun – by garden birds is a bit of behaviour that often gets noticed at this time of the year.
Nick Baker's Winter Birds
The cold weather doesn’t deter some of the Britain’s less well-known species from grabbing the limelight. Our wildlife expert rounds up a few of his seasonal favourites.
"Timing Issues" by Nick Baker
By the time you read this, several of your neighbourhood birds – particularly the thrushes, blackbirds and robins – will have already got their first brood out of the way.
What a Week!
Peer out of your kitchen window and wonder for a moment what the view was like a thousand years ago.Chances are you'd have seen trees - everywhere. Trees mean holes, and holes mean homes for birds.
Nuthatch: whistler in the woods
Nuthatches are one of the most attractive and interesting of our garden birds.
Plan your wildlife garden
Most of us would be astonished by the variety of creatures that can be found in gardens. We may see and recognise the biggest and most obvious visitors, but much else remains unseen and unrecorded.
Predators in perspective
By providing well for your garden birds it is inevitable that you will attract some unwelcome visitors. However, most can be discouraged simply but effectively.
Sentimental thoughts: birds and us
Many of us are distressed when we see a sparrowhawk catch a blue tit in our garden.
Tailor-made for Britain's favourite bird.
We all love robins. This instantly recognisable garden icon consistently tops polls to name Britain’s favourite bird, and for plenty of good reasons.
Spotlight on Squirrel Buster
The feeders that changed the worldWhen Squirrel Buster® burst onto the scene in 2000, it solved an age-old headache for bird lovers. And now after 12 years - and millions of happy customers - it's th
Squirrel Buster: The 3.5 million selling sensation
Love them or loathe them, squirrels are an unavoidable feature in many British gardens. Their acrobatic antics endear them to some wildlife fans.
Starlings need friends
If there’s a bird with an image problem then it has to be the starling. Long regarded as the shiny-suited spiv of the bird world, it’s one species that few people welcome on their feeders
Swallows: true country birds
Trim, elegant, invariably beautifully turned out, the swallow is one of the most attractive of summer visitors.
Tree sparrows unmasked
Few birds are as mysterious as the tree sparrow.
Treecreepers and nuthatches
Though not related, nuthatches and treecreepers have evolved similar lifestyles, climbing along tree trunks and branches in search of food.
Wasps are welcome
Many of us, on finding a wasps’ nest in the garden, are tempted to call the local council to ask for it to be destroyed.
Water’s vital properties
Water is just as much an essential of life for birds as it is for us. They not only need it for drinking and bathing but also for basic survival. Many ground-foraging species like robins and blackbir
The shortage of food in the countryside means that gardens are fast becoming an important habitat for many birds. Did you know, for example, that nearly 25% of song thrushes are now found in gardens?
Yellowhammer is a distinctive visitor
An especially handsome visitor to rural gardens is the yellowhammer, the most familiar of the four species of buntings to breed in Britain.
How many syllables are there in a skylark’s song? Which bird used to be known as the ‘thistle finch’? And how long does it take house martins to build their mud nests? We’ve got all the answers – and hundreds more – in our absorbing collection of bird-focused facts and figures.