How to help feed the birds this win­ter­time

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

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 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. 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 uk/homes

The Laugh­ing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glossop

●● A green­finch clutch­ing onto a fat ball feeder

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