How to help feed the birds this wintertime
EVERY winter millions of people start to put out extra food for garden birds as they respond to the RSPB’s call to give nature a hand, and indeed a home, as this is the best time of the year to erect a few nest-boxes.
But gardens have been unusually quiet recently, leaving people worried as to why, and several readers have called me to say they are concerned about the lack of birds.
Don’t worry, they will be back soon, and the RSPB is reassuring people that unusually mild weather this November means that many birds are continuing to visit their usual food sources in the countryside and are not yet relying on garden feeders.
Ben Andrew from the RSPB’s wildlife team said: “As a nation of wildlife lovers it is incredible to see how much people love to see birds in their gardens all year round.
“And that just brings to life the philosophy of giving nature a home.
“So it is only natural that our phones have been ringing with people concerned that they are not seeing the numbers of birds they usually do this time of year.” Numbers of birds typically start to rise at garden feeders during late autumn and early winter, but so far this year it would seem birds are finding plenty of food in the wider countryside and don’t need to depend on visiting gardens yet.
Ben continued: “As the weather gets colder and food becomes scarcer the birds will start to visit feeders and will really appreciate the generosity of the British public in making sure there will be a constant food supply available throughout the winter.”
Keeping your feeders, tables and bird baths topped-up when the cold weather arrives will make sure your garden visitors are well-fed and looked after, and it will also encourage them into your garden just in time for you to take part in the world’s biggest wildlife survey in January, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Garden Jobs for November: ●● Clean all your bird feeders in boiling water. Scrub down your bird baths. ●● Clean out your nest-boxes and erect some new ones. ●● If you are unsure what to feed your birds in the winter, the RSPB suggests calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed, fatballs, suet sprinkles, sunflower seed and good-quality peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps, like mild grated cheese, cooked rice and porridge oats. And, don’t forget the RSPB stocks a range of bird foods and safe, high-quality feeders for your garden birds.
All you need to do is visit www.rspb.org.uk/ shop to find out more or shop online safe in the knowledge 100 percent of profits go to helping birds and wildlife. RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch will take place over the weekend of January 30 and 31. Last year over half-a-million people took part spotting almost nine million birds in just two days. These included the welcome sights of house sparrows, starling and blackbirds as well as some lucky observers who were visited by a skylark or a rare snow bunting.
Visit.rspb.org.uk/ birdwatch to discover how you can get involved.
For more information on feeding birds during the winter as well as advice on how you can give nature a home to attract birds and other wildlife to your garden in all seasons, visit rspb.org. uk/homes
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop
●● A greenfinch clutching onto a fat ball feeder