Last updated on March 16th, 2022
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If you want to encourage nesting birds, you need to give them a home. Providing shelter will go a long way towards keeping nesting birds around your garden. Although many people use nesting boxes, one of the best ways you can do this is to select shrubs that are perfect for birds.
Adults birds are going to search for a place to brood around the border of your garden. If they find an area that is to their liking and they make their nest they will come back season after season. But in order for something to be to their liking, it needs to have structure and cover. Birds need sturdy branches that are placed at an angle to help them build their nest. They also need cover and as long as predators can’t see the nest, then the young birds are safe.
You can also try fitting nest boxes to encourage birds to nest in your garden which we talked about here in another article.
That said, there are plenty of shrubs you can include in your garden along the border as hedges or anything in between to provide birds with a wonderful place to live.
1. Pyracantha – Firethorn
Pyracantha, also known as Firethorn, are one of the top shrubs for nesting and perfect for many bird varieties. They have a great branch structure and you can grow them up against walls in your garden along the border. Most of these are resistant to diseases as well. They produce beautiful white flowers that are sure to add some colour to your garden, followed by berries that are perfect for birds, so you can give them a one-stop shop for food and shelter.
2. Prunus spinosa – Blackthorn
Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn) make for wonderful bird homes as well. Just remember not to prune the branches when the birds are present.
3. Fagus sylvatica – Beech
Fagus sylvatica (Beech) bring to your garden the stability, thick branches and angular designs that birds are looking for, especially birds that want to nest higher.
4. Crataegus monogyna – Hawthorn
The Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn) is a deciduous shrub that can grow two or three metres in height. It’s much like Holly, producing white flowers followed by red berries that are perfect for birds. It’s very hardy and will not be taken down by frost in the winter, unlike some other more tender shrubs.
5. Viburnum opulus – Guelder Rose
You can add more height to your garden with the Viburnum opulus (Guelder rose). For birds that want to be higher up, this is an ideal companion. In autumn the leaves turn red and produce bright red berries for the birds to enjoy. The flowers grow in clusters of tiny flowers surrounded by bigger rings of flowers, so they create a beautiful display and afford the birds’ cover and concealment against predators.
6. Corylus avellana – Hazel
Corylus avellana (Hazel) forms in thickets and create the perfect concealments for nests as well as providing some much-needed winter colour.
7. Ilex aquifolium – Holly
The Ilex aquifolium (Holly), otherwise known as the common Winterberry, grows quite tall reaching two or three metres. It’s an evergreen Holly so it will naturally spread with suckers and create a large clump. It grows well in moist and dry conditions with acidic soil. The bright red berries will cover the stems in the winter, hence the name, which not only adds colour but gives birth to some late-season fruit to enjoy.
8. Euonymus europaeus – Spindel
The Euonymus europaeus (Spindel) is a flowering shrub that prefers to grow along the edge of forests, as a hedge, or along gentle slopes. It thrives in salt-poor or chalky soil so even if your garden has less than ideal conditions, you can still give birds a home.