Every time I turn up at my allotment with my digging fork, the cheeky robin who’s resident on our plot appears out of nowhere and I can’t help thinking how lucky I am to have a little patch of my own in one of the few green areas left in my town. The robin does a great job of keeping me motivated and he eats as many grubs and ants’ eggs as I can uncover.
I’m happy to report that my site is a true haven for wild birds – so much so that the rustic arbour my neighbour built for his grapevine is riddled with woodpecker holes! In fact, across the UK allotments and back gardens make up most of the remaining safe places for breeding birds. Allotments tend to be more cat-free than back gardens, which is why we so often get the benefit of birdsong as we tend our plots.
There are lots of things we can all do to make life a bit easier for our feathered friends, and this year in particular they need all the help they can get. The late, wet and cold start to spring, preceded by a bitter winter, has led to a real shortage of food. Let’s hope the weather picks up quickly!
There are sound practical reasons for helping birds too. They provide an extremely useful form of pest control; eating slugs, snails, asparagus beetles and aphids to name just a few of the critters I’ve spotted this month. What’s more, the waste that birds produce is not to be sniffed at – I use the deposits beneath my bird feeders to enrich the soil, helping to provide bumper crops.