'Bird-friendly' call for gardens [BBC 2007-10-25]
[Photo] The number of house sparrows is in decline, the RSBP says.
UK householders can halt the decline of many birds by making their gardens more wildlife-friendly, a charity says.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said simple measures can help preserve populations of house sparrows, starlings and song thrushes.
It has recommended allowing patches of long grass to grow, so that insects which act as food can thrive.
Dr Darren Moorcroft from the RSPB said the British garden was part of a larger wildlife community.
The charity's Homes for Wildlife scheme, which is launched on Saturday, will call for gardeners to plant deciduous trees, native shrubs and climbers like as honeysuckle or roses - all of which provide food and shelter for birds.
The RSPB has also suggested plants which are rich in nectar and seeds such as sunflowers and alyssum.
It said it hoped that more than 200,000 people will support the scheme.
Leaving pot plants on balconies can also encourage insects which provide food for birds, it added.
Dr Moorcroft, RSPB head of conservation management advice, said "gardens are the richest wildlife habitat on earth".
He added: "By taking simple wildlife-friendly steps in our gardens, collectively we will make a real difference for many of our birds and other wildlife," he said.