Garden Birds

Chaffinch garden bird

Garden Birds

 

Over recent years, numbers of our once-common garden birds have dropped dramatically in the wake of increased development, intensification of farming, and habitat loss - by up to 71% for some birds.

 

Learn how you can help and how to identify different birds below.

Help the birds in your garden

Garden birds do have a lifeline- your garden. Together, the 16 million gardens across the UK form an area for wildlife larger than all our National Nature Reserves. This patchwork of habitats helps our wildlife to move about freely, forming a vast living landscape that links urban green spaces with the wider countryside. Encouraging birds to visit your garden is easy and a great way to help! 

Click Here for tips on how to encourage wildlife into your garden.

Help the birds in your area

We manage over 28,000 acres of reserves which are havens for rare and threatened species and habitats.  We give wildlife a voice, campaigning on wildlife issues and focus on protecting local wildlife.

The best way to help us is through membership.  Our 20,000 members are critical to all the work we do protecting local wildlife - click here to learn more about membership and how you can get involved.

There are a whole range of other ways to help.  If you want to find out more about how you can help us help local wildlife please visit the Support Us page. 

Which birds am I likely to see in my garden?

Typically, males are more distinguishable than females. Click through to browse the species pages for more details about these birds. The UK's 10 most common garden visitors are:

Blackbird snow garden

Blackbird (c) Mark Hamblin/2020 Vision

Blackbird

Males (pictured) are black with a yellow bill and yellow ring around the eye. Females and juveniles are dark brown.

house sparrow small bird

(c) Mark Hamblin/2020Vision

House sparrow

Males (pictured) are streaky brown above and grey below, with chestnut-and-white wings, a black bib and a grey cap. Females and juveniles are duller.

glossy black green iridescent speckled garden bird

(c) Ian Rose

Starling

Adults (pictured) are oily-black with a purple-and-green sheen, and tiny, beige spots in winter. Juveniles are dark grey-brown.

bluetit small garden bird

(c) Dave Kilbey

Blue tit

Greeny-blue above and yellow below, with a blue cap, white cheeks, black eyestripes, and a blue tail and wings.

wood pigeon common garden bird

(c) Gillian Day

Woodpigeon

Grey above, with a pink breast, white neck patch and white patches on the wings.

goldfinch small garden bird

Goldfinch (c) Neil Aldridge

Goldfinch

Gingery-brown above and pale below, with black-and-yellow wings, a black crown, white cheeks and a red face.

chaffinch garden bird

(c) Bob Coyle

Chaffinch

Males have blue-grey crowns, brown backs and pink breasts. Females are brown, with white shoulder patches and wingbars.

great tit small bird

(c) Bob Coyle

Great tit

Green above and yellow below, with a black head, white cheeks, and black stripe down its breast.

small garden bird orange red breast chat

(c) Stewart McDonald

Robin

Brown above, with a white belly and red breast. Juveniles are mottled gold and brown.

small garden bird flocks

(c) Jon Hawkins

Long-tailed tit

Black, white and pink above, and pale pink below, with a long, black-and-white tail, a white head, and a broad, black stripe above the eye.

carrion crow corvid medium sized black garden bird

(c) Chris Maguire

Carrion Crow

The all-black Carrion Crow is a mostly solitary bird, it has a black bill and bare legs. It can be seen almost everywhere.

dunnock small garden bird sparrow-like grey brown

(c) Neil Aldridge

Dunnock

A small grey/brown bird, similar in size to a sparrow.

jackdaw corvid crow garden bird

(c) Gillian Day

Jackdaw

The smallest of the crow family the jackdaw is a noisy, communal bird with a pale eye and a grey nape.

small black and white garden bird

(c) Margaret Holland

Pied wagtail

A small, darting black and white bird with an inescapable twitching tail.

magpie corvid crow black and white medium sized garden bird

(c) Steve Waterhouse

Magpie

A medium-sized member of the crow family with striking black and white plumage. 

Other Species

Other species that visit gardens include carrion crows, magpies, jackdaws, collared doves, dunnocks, wrens, song thrushes, greenfinches, coal tits, swifts, house martins, and green and great spotted woodpeckers. Find out more about these birds on our species explorer.

Which rarer birds might visit?

If you live close to countryside, you might find traditional farmland or woodland species visiting, particularly in winter when food is scarce. Look out for chiffchaffs, siskins, yellowhammers, bullfinches, nuthatches, treecreepers, lesser redpolls, tawny owls, sparrowhawks, jays, cuckoos, mistle thrushes, blackcaps, goldcrests and pied flycatchers. Winter garden visitors may also include migrant bramblings, waxwings, redwings and fieldfares. If you have a pond in the garden, you might find herons and other waterbirds popping in.

How can I encourage birds to my garden?

Whether you have a small, city patch or acres of fields, you can encourage birds to visit your garden:

  • Put out suitable food on a birdtable and in feeders – even one that sticks to a window will do the trick!
  • Birds eat different things: try seeds for sparrows and finches, fat balls for tits, and fruit and worms for thrushes and robins. As long as it’s not mouldy, you can also pop out leftovers like fruit cake, unsalted nuts, and over-ripe apples and pears
  • The amount of food you need to supply will vary depending on the season and weather; try to put out only what will get eaten, so there’s nothing left to go off
  • Don’t forget to provide fresh water (in saucer or even bin lid will do) as well, and make sure you clean feeders and tables regularly to avoid disease
  • Provide places for birds to nest and rest safely by planting native trees and shrubs, or putting up nest boxes

Download a wildlife gardening guide

Wildlife gardening

Facts and tips to encourage wildlife into your garden

Learn more...

Discover what else you might see this month

Click here for wildlife highlights

Bob Coyle