Shrubs and hedges are some of the most important structures in gardens for birds

Dense, prickly branches with lasting foliage offer fantastic protection from predators and numerous nesting sites

Insects and small mammals will live amongst the stems and leaves. 

Tits and finches can be seen flitting along the branches, hunting tiny insects which are essential nestling food. Wrens will find low down, sheltered spots to make their tiny, mossy cave-like nests. Blackbirds and thrushes can be found eating berries throughout the autumn and winter.

Native species are best, but anything works; the more variety, foliage types, longevity and berries the better.  

Larger shrubs and hedges will offer more opportunities for feeding, sheltering from the weather, and hiding from predators and, most importantly, nesting sites.

Different birds like to nest at different heights and aspects.  Wrens low down, thrushes and blackbirds higher up, finches and tits much higher up.  Offering a multi-storey natural hedge is the ultimate in des-res for songbirds!

The bases of hedges are the perfect place to grow nectar-rich woodland flowers like foxgloves, bluebells and anemones: perfect for insects and providing additional protection for wildlife.

Plant a Natural Hedge


  • Wild Cherry – Prunus avium
  • Field Maple – Acer campestre
  • Dog Rose – Rosa canina
  • Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa
  • Hornbeam – Carpus betulus

For a full list of trees and shrubs for hedges and for use in borders that are good for birds and wildlife click here