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The RSPB is urging Brits to leave ‘mud pies’ out in their gardens, to help birds beat the heat and provide them with materials to build their nests. All you need are two simple ingredients.
Migratory birds – such as swallows, house martins and swifts – are returning to the UK after flying thousands of miles from their wintering grounds. We might be excited for the upcoming heatwave, but dry spells mean less mud will be available for the birds to build their own mud cup nest.
To create your own muddy puddle for our feathered friends to help themselves to, simply leave out a dish of soil and water mixed together. This will give birds soft material to build their nests with.
“Now is as good a time as ever to help the wildlife near you,” says Charlotte Ambrose from the RSPB. “Whether from your garden, balcony, or local green space, taking a few simple steps to give the nature on your doorstep a helping hand this spring can really give birds such as swifts, swallows and house martins the boost they need as they grace our skies once more.”
Other ways you can help birds include putting up nest boxes or cups, banishing the use of pesticides, having an insect-friendly lawn and watching where you walk — little terns, for example, nest on shingle beaches, so putting dogs on leads and watching your step can help to reduce the risk of disturbing their nests.
“Affected by changes in climate, loss of nesting sites and reduction in food supplies, swifts and house martins having jumped from the green to red list of conservation concern in 2021,” the charity says. “With bird breeding season now well underway, these birds are busy finding mates, building nests and bringing up broods, and there’s a host of ‘new faces’ in our gardens, woodlands, countryside and along our coastlines.”
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