Unique Nesting Boxes
Earlier this year, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch revealed that the number of garden birds in the capital is on the decline. The most common species seem to have been gradually disappearing, however, this year the situation looked even worse due to the mild winter.
The RSPB wanted to highlight the problem and to take steps to encourage more birds to visit the city. It enlisted Essex carpenter Pete Bagg to create a series of unique nesting boxes in the form of iconic London Buildings. These were to be placed in the newly created E20 postcode area which was the site of the athlete’s village for the 2012 Olympics. It is now known as East Village.
East village has invested heavily in wildlife projects and is one of the greenest neighbourhoods in London. It now features which celebrate Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and the Lee Valley Velodrome. It is hoped that the nesting boxes, alongside the other wildlife friendly features of the area, will see more birds arriving in the neighbourhood. Living roofs, 25 acres of green open space and 3,000 newly planted trees should help to make the area a haven for a variety of species.
The Nesting Boxes
The were put on display outside the Welcome Office of Get Living London. They were then moved to various sites around the East Village ready for the breeding season next year. When compared with 12 years ago, populations of starlings are down 34 per cent, Blackbirds are down 19 per cent and house sparrows are down 13 per cent so new initiatives to help the birds can’t come soon enough.
If you do happen to be in the East Village over the coming months then you might spot a miniature Gherkin (of the architectural variety), Big Ben and Battersea Power Station. The 10 nest box were a fabulous idea and a great way to address the challenges of urbanisation for wild birds.
Planting for Wildlife
The birds need nesting sites but they also require more sources of food. The RSPB is working with a number of landowners to increase both nesting opportunities and the availability of food. Garden birds need an abundance of natural food, including insects, seeds, berries and nuts. Sowing wildflowers increases the numbers of pollinators and other insects and this planting can even be done on small balconies and roofs in urban areas. In larger gardens, planting hedges, trees and shrubs boosts the biodiversity, and grassy areas are also important for wildlife.
Use Every Square Inch
It is vital that every available balcony, garden and outside space in urban areas is utilised to help wildlife. If residents and landowners all work together and make whatever contribution they can, then the wild bird populations could slowly start to improve once more.