As gardeners in Helensburgh and Lomond start getting their lawns and borders in in shape for spring, they are being urged to watch out for nesting birds.

The RSPB says as this is the busiest time of year for gardeners, it's important that nests are not disturbed.

Birds such as blackbirds, robins, and song thrushes will all be setting up home in gardens, looking for as much shelter as possible and there are a number of things you can do, along with supplying food and water, to make their lives a little easier at nesting time.

Putting up a nestbox is a simple way to help.

Many birds such as coal tits, great tits and house sparrows use nest boxes as a safe, warm and comfortable space and they’re an excellent substitute for a tree hole.

Collect your pets fur at grooming time (as long as no chemical treatments have been applied recently) or take your own from hairbrushes (cut into short pieces) and peg them in bunches on the washing line. Birds will come along and take as much as they need to help build a snug nest.

Other things that can be left out to help birds create their nest are small pieces of cloth, dental floss, strands of cotton, pieces of string, feathers, shredded paper, cotton wool and straw.

Try not to do too much intensive pruning of your hedges, ivy and shrubbery at this time of year. Birds may be nesting beneath the foliage and relying on it for cover.

If you come across a nest, leave well alone – birds that are disturbed may decide to abandon their eggs or young for fear of the site not being safe.

Birds are naturally secretive and if they feel somewhere is safe, warm and secure, chances are they’ll decide to call it home.

This means you may not realise that a feathered family has set up in your garden, roof of your house or even somewhere more unusual!

For one family of robins, the race to get on the property ladder got so tough they decided to set-up home in a car.

In another instance, an unsuspecting RSPB employee was surprised to find a robin had built a nest in the front of his Land Rover when he went to start it up.

That’s not the only occasion a family of birds have made themselves at home in a peculiar place.

Over the years, the RSPB has had some rather unusual nesting spots reported including inside a bike helmet, in the middle of a coiled up hose pipe, in a cigarette bin and even inside a human skull (at a burial ground!).

Whether it’s a wooden nestbox, a sturdy tree or somewhere more unexpected, if you haven’t already got lodgers, then you soon could have.

April is one of the busiest months for both birds and gardeners, as the weather gradually improves and daylight hours increase.

So get out into your garden and enjoy making it a wildlife haven for the new fledglings that will soon appear.