David Domoney birdwatches

Spotlight on David Domoney

We spoke to Chartered Horticulturist and TV Gardener David Domoney to find why he loves the Birdwatch and how we can all help the wildlife in our gardens.

Why do you think so many gardeners are also keen Big Garden Birdwatchers?

Nearly every gardener has a fascination with the wildlife in the garden. I suppose gardeners relate to birds first. The robin – whenever we’re digging or turning the soil, there’s a friendly robin looking out for worms and keeping us company! So, there’s quite a strong connection between gardeners and wildlife. And the birds are not just there for us to see but to hear as well. The music! It’s almost an orchestra playing outside while we’re tilling the soil and tending to the plants. There’s a really magical connection between gardeners and our feathered friends.

How do you get ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch?

Normally we have feeders throughout the garden but for the Birdwatch itself, I'd rather try and group them all into the same area. We move them a couple of weeks before the Birdwatch for the birds to get used to where the feeders are and we’ll put out extra water for them too.

David Domoney feeds the birds

How does the Big Garden Birdwatch make you feel?

I think anything that connects the family with nature is very important, certainly these days with technology everywhere.

Connecting children with nature is all important and gardens are not just about plants and people, they’re about the wildlife as well. We have a huge abundance across the UK—from hedgehogs, frogs and toads, to insects and of course birds too.

You can enjoy the fascination of seeing a bird but also really enjoy studying it up close and seeing how birds interact, how your gardening is being used by them.

Do you have any tips on making your garden good for birds?

There’s a couple of key things to consider when choosing plants that aid birds. One is their nests as they use hedges, shrubs and trees as a protective cover.

In addition to that, it’s always best to have a lawn because they have a whole host of advantages for birds and it’s not just the worms. Having plenty of evergreens is great too because they will offer some protection.

There’s no ideal time to put up bird boxes but try to avoid putting them up just before the birds begin nesting—they need to get used to boxes being there before they’ll use them. It’s also good to consider insects. Find an area – behind the garage or shed for example – where you can stack old logs, twigs or leaves which make a perfect habitat for them.



Why would you encourage others to do the Big Garden Birdwatch?

It’s a phenomenal opportunity. It’s only one hour. A couple of days before the Birdwatch, put out some food and water for the birds. And just sit, look out of that window. It’s more than a view onto your garden, it’s a view into the wider world. You’ll see the birds that visit the garden and it will astound you. There may be some varieties that you’ve never seen before!

Just watch the way the birds interact and play and feed – it uplifts your heart, you know, it nourishes the soul.

We know being connected with nature makes us feel happier. If you ever go for a walk in a wood or wherever in nature, when you come back you feel happier having done so. 

It’s the same for the Birdwatch—that engagement! Looking out the window and seeing the life in your garden will go a long way to make you feel better and, even if it’s raining, you’re indoors so you’re comfortable too! If you haven’t done it before, do it. It’s one hour and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.