Illustration © nic-nic 2017
March 2017 — Blue Tits and Robins
An east side plot holder looks at the sights and sounds of two small but very welcome guests.
Two of our most welcome and attractive guests on the plot are the robin and the blue tit, both native to the UK and resident here all year round. Birdsong is always great to hear while you're at the plot, but these small birds also graze on insects, grubs and caterpillars, so are invaluable for keeping pests down. The robins at our site are particularly tame, often perching just a few feet away as you turn over soil or compost bins, waiting to swoop in and pick out a tasty grub or insect... if you're patient enough, you may even get one to feed from your hand.
To encourage these birds onto your plot, you can provide feeders, or even put up nesting boxes—robins are fiercely territorial, and will chase other robins away, but they will tolerate the presence of other species such as the blue tit.
Nesting box requirements differ for both species—bluetit boxes have a small entrance hole and need to be sited 2-4 metres up a tree or wall, facing north-east, while boxes for robins need to be open fronted and placed lower than 2 metres, well hidden in vegetation. Visit the RSPB website for more info on making and siting bird boxes.
Photo: © Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31367900
Photo: © Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37675470