Watson Bird Garden

The Land

A strip 25m wide stretching from Main Street to the rear wall is reserved for the establishment of the Watson Bird Garden. At present a line of vegetation has been removed to delimit approximately the boundary. This brief sets out the aim of the garden, the critical actions required and the process we would like to adopt for its development.

Purpose

We aim to have a garden where birds can nest, roost and feed in a variety of settings and where the public can enjoy seeing them and enjoy the area, as well as contribute to its development and its maintenance.

Plans and actions to be determined

  • The first step is draw up a development plan for the garden that can accommodate spaces for different types of birds and bird activity, to provide public access and interpretation, and to allow the development of the land at a later date for the placing of sculptures and the installation of a classroom.
  • The plan will also need to determine the remedial required, and identify who should do it and how it will be supervised. It will need to identify what maintenance work will be needed at what frequency and how this should be supervised.
  • The plan needs to be costed: how much money is needed to undertake the remedial work and how much to undertake the development and maintenance of the garden.
  • Once the costed plan is drawn up it will need to be agreed with Watson Birds and GCAT (as the owners of the land),
  • We will then be in position to get the remedial work done.

Creating the best bird habitat

A number of remedial steps are required first to provide the best chances of attracting different species of birds. We envisage that this will involve the following:

  • leaving all of the large trees – beech, pine, aspen, ash, and sycamore as they provide nesting and roosting opportunities for birds and provide a food source from seeds, pollen and nectar;
  • smaller, immature trees, such beech and ash, should be removed to allow ground level plants to colonise;
  • removal the invasive and non-native ground plants as they should not be there and create no benefit for birds at all. All of the snowberry should be cleared and killed by cutting and treating with shrub killer. Some the of ivy should be removed to provide space for other plants to colonise, but some should be left to provide cover for birds to nest.

A number of steps to develop the garden can then be taken. These should include:

  • development of a circular walking path beginning and ending at the entrance and reaching as far as the rear wall and taking in both the lower and higher ground levels;
  • develop a viewing area at the rear wall with over to the Rhinns of Kells;
  • design a threshold entry sign and information board;
  • consider whether a pond would be a good idea, where it should be located and what size it should be;
  • consider the plants to be put in to provide feed and cover for birds;
  • consider where to develop a small area of meadow;
  • identify the type of nest boxes to placed on the trees at various heights for different bird species.

Longer term development might include placement of sculptures and the development of an indoor classroom/learning facility.