Episode 133 - Show Notes & Advice

Podcast Banner SU23 Desktop

episode 133 | show notes & advice

episode description

On today’s episode, Sarah is joined by her husband, the writer, Adam Nicolson to talk all about the wonder of woodland and garden birds. Discover everything you need to know about Britain’s native varieties and ultimately, how to protect them. 

in this episode, discover

  • Adam and Sarah’s favourite garden and woodland birds
  • Top tips for creating a bird-friendly environment 

Episode 133 advice sheet

Inspired by his previous book, ‘The Seabird’s Cry,’ Adam Nicolson is in the process of writing his latest book, which focuses on the wonder and excellence of British birds in the garden and woodland. 

Top tips for creating a safe and bird-friendly environment (5:40)

  • Adam explains that placing or hanging a bird feeder next to a sheltered spot is essential. Something like a hedge works well, as this will allow the feeding birds to dart back and forth, seeking refuge from predators. 
  • They also have a sense of safety in numbers, so the better environment you create, the more popular it will be.
  • Building a bird hide on stilts is another effective option. Adam uses the example of one local to Perch Hill farm that sits within inches of oak trees and has bird feeders dangling from its roof. This allows the birds to dart in and out of the hut, without the constant fear of predators. 

Merlin bird laboratory at Cornell University (8:40)

  • Adam says that last year, Cornell University brought out an app called ‘Merlin’, which will listen to the dawn chorus and tell you which birds are singing. Almost like binoculars for the ears, it’s very useful for identifying what is in the garden.

Learnings from birds (15:19)

  • Birds have different alarm calls, and the same bird can even have different alarm calls when spotting different predators. 
  • Bedfordshire is home to the most phenomenal woodland, complete with over 30 nightingale territories, 350 different warbler territories. The farmer achieved this repopulation by doing nothing at all. Adam explains that the woodland, left to regenerate and rewild, has become an incredible ecosystem that supports all types of birds.  

Six birds that Adam and Sarah love (20:00)

  • Nightingale – One of Adam’s absolute favourites, although they haven’t visited Perch Hill in quite some time. These birds are really prevalent in France and have the most beautiful song. 
  • Long-tailed tit – One of Sarah’s best-ever garden birds, the Long-tailed tit isn’t actually part of the tit family at all, instead belonging to the Aegithalidae family. With chic colouring and an incredibly long tail, they aren’t to be missed. 
  • Song thrush – Endlessly inventive, these birds change their song every day. 
  • Siskin – Brand-new to Sarah, these are more woodland birds than garden birds. The males are mustard yellow with green, and the female birds are grey with flecks of yellow.
  • Blackbirds – Excellent song and one of Adam’s best-loved birds. 
  • Treecreeper – Almost like lizards climbing up the side of trees and falling back down to harvest insects for supper.