Feed­ers vi­tal in win­ter months

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

OVER the week­end many peo­ple got in­volved in the RSPB Big Gar­den Bird Watch, re­port­ing sight­ings of all the birds they see on bird ta­bles and feed­ers.

It is heart­en­ing that many peo­ple get in­volved in this an­nual event and it would be nice to know that a good per­cent­age con­tinue to record the birds and other crea­tures in their gar­dens.

All the in­for­ma­tion is use­ful in en­sur­ing that our wildlife is in a healthy state or if not then we can do some­thing about it.

Ob­vi­ously the Wildlife Trusts and or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Greater Manch­ester Ecol­ogy Unit and Lan­cashire En­vi­ron­ment Record Net­work are al­ways keen to hear of records of wildlife both rare and common.

And your gar­den bird ta­ble will be vi­tal at this time of year as birds will be feel­ing the cold and need some food to see them through the fi­nal months of win­ter. It is also the time that they are con­sid­er­ing match­ing up for the breed­ing sea­son or fly­ing home to Scan­di­navia – is food more ex­pen­sive for birds in Swe­den?

We have the usual sus­pects ar­riv­ing on our shed and gar­den – black­birds, spar­rows and star­lings that have been here all year round. I even caught a glimpse of the noisy wren last week.

This lit­tle fel­low de­lighted me in sum­mer when it popped in and out of the gaps in our stone wall. There it was in win­ter hop­ping onto the fence where it had nearly shat­tered my ear-drums with its song in sum­mer.

The spar­rows all in­habit a bush at the back and they make a tremen­dous noise even in the mid­dle of win­ter. Spar­rows have suf­fered over the past few decades and num­bers have de­clined so it is won­der­ful to see this gang in my gar­den.

The star­lings come fly­ing in – about 20 of them – to feed on the seeds and raisins I put out ev­ery morn­ing. They hang around a squab­ble un­til it all gets a bit too much for the dog, Al­fie, who hur­tles out into the gar­den to stop the party.

They are safely out of reach but scat­ter to places even higher where they can laugh and do more ter­rier taunt­ing.

Our two black­birds in­crease in num­ber in win­ter with vis­i­tors from Scan­di­navia spend­ing time here. Their duller beaks and lesser yel­low rims around the eyes give them away. We still get quite a bit of black­bird morn­ing cho­rus on milder win­ter days.

Blue tits and great tits join the spar­row throng and I am happy to say that my feed­ing of the birds has been re­warded with blue tit chicks over the past two springs. I have to say I do look for­ward to see­ing the baby birds as we stride into March.

So well done to those who took part in the bird watch and please con­tinue to stock up your bird ta­bles with the right kinds of food and wa­ter.

Th­ese com­ing months are the most vi­tal to build up the strength of our feath­ered friends so they are fit and well for breed­ing and feed­ing their young in spring.

To support the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side. Text WILD09 with the amount you want to do­nate to 70070.

The Trust has 26,000 mem­bers, and more than 1,200 vol­un­teers.

To be­come a mem­ber of the Trust go to the web­site at www.lanc­swt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewil­dlifetrust. org.uk.

Peter Smith

●● A blue tit perched on a branch

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