AJ, our Forest Ranger at Keldy has put together a few tips for looking after your garden birds to help them survive the winter:
Feeding can be done throughout the year but is particularly important in winter and spring. Winter is the hardest time of year for all our wildlife, due to scarcity of food.
- Putting out a good mixed feed on bird tables and in feeders will encourage most urban birds into gardens, providing them with essential energy.
- It is also important to provide the birds with access to clean water to drink and bathe in and bird baths should be regularly cleaned. Never use salted water.
- Fat balls will be popular additions to your feeding stations and are readily available to buy. Some come in a nylon mesh bag but always remove these because birds get their claws caught in the mesh, causing injury and potentially trapping them.
- As a cheaper option you can make your own fat balls. Pop seeds and dry mealworms into a fat feeder mix to add protein and carbohydrate.
- Never use polyunsaturated fat, butter or fat from your cooking as these can cling onto birds' feathers.
What will you find?
The birds you are most likely to attract in the winter are robins, house sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, blue and great tits, greenfinches and collared doves. Watch the base of your bird table for dunnocks, song thrushes and chaffinches. If you are lucky you may also see thrushes, fieldfares and redwings. Here at Keldy we’ve seen great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches and coal, marsh and long-tailed tits too.
I hope this is useful to get you started. There is a lot more information on the RSPB website, where you can also find descriptions of all the birds and their birdsong, to help you recognise your winter visitors.