Garden birds give care home residents joy

Garden birds are among the simple pleasures care home residents are still able to enjoy during lockdown. A number of national events are helping to focus the mind on these welcome visitors and Barchester is keen to get as many people involved as possible.

February 14th to 21st is National Nest Box Week, which is designed to encourage efforts to help the conservation of breeding birds. This is particularly important for songbirds, who can experience a lack of suitable nesting holes and cavities in areas where mature trees are in decline.

Residents and staff at The Manor Care Home in Taunton are addressing this issue by building and installing nest boxes in its garden. The first step is to conduct research and find out which materials to use to build the boxes, as well as the foliage that is best for lining them with.

Then, they are placed in locations around the garden where residents will get a good view of the birds checking out their new homes. This offers a glimpse of nature from the windows of the care home while residents are staying indoors to keep themselves safe from coronavirus and the wintry weather.

Brighton Nyagomo, general manager at The Manor Care Home, said: "We have really enjoyed finding out all about how to encourage birds to nest in our garden.

"Nest boxes have been strategically positioned all around and will provide the residents with a good view of all the comings and goings when the birds take up residence.  We can’t wait to see them.”

National Nest Box Week comes in the wake of The Big Garden Bird Watch, which is run annually by the RSPB. It asks people to count the birds spotted in the garden for one hour between January 29th and 31st and then submit the data to the charity.

Residents at Camellia House in Ware started their preparation for the event early on in January when they made fat balls to put in the garden. They also purchased a number of suction bird feeders to go on individual residents’ windows, tempting the birds even closer.

These have proven popular, both with birds, who can find it difficult to get enough food in the winter months, and the residents. A number of those who are nursed in bed have been able to watch robins and sparrows as they’ve approached the feeders.

Margaret, a resident at Camellia House, said: “I love to watch the birds in the garden. They are really cheeky and eat the food we put out for them. We have really enjoyed seeing how many varieties of birds we can attract.”

Long after the two events have finished the bird feeders will remain, giving pleasure to the residents and helping the local wildlife to flourish. It’s amazing how many types of bird can be found within the gardens of Barchester care homes.