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21 Things You Can Do to Look After Garden Birds in Winter

21 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO LOOK AFTER GARDEN BIRDS IN Wenier As the mercury in the garden thermometer drops and the conditions worsen, it's not just your plants which need a little assistance this winter. Your garden's winged visitors also have a difficult time during the wintry months, and rely on the help of strangers to see them through the season. So, if you want to make winter as comfortable as possible for your visiting robins, waxwings and bramblings, here are 21 things you can do to look after birds this winter. I. 2. Food& Drink SEEDS During the winter months, the birds' favourite foods may be scarce, so they'll appreciate a helping hand at dinner time. Here are a few A top-quality and high-energy blend of seeds provides a good basis for the birds' diets. There are specific blends for certain species, perfect if you've got regular visitors and you want to tailor the menu to their tastes. LIVE FOODS Mealworms, in particular, are a great source of protein for birds, so will keep them healthy and energised even in the darkest depths of winter. of the best foods to put out for the winged visitors. 3. 4. 5. PEANUTS Crush up some unsalted SUNFLOWER peanuts and pop them in a wire mesh feeder – providing the birds with a good source of aflatoxin. Loose, whole SEEDS SUET Nutritious and fun, prising the seeds from sunflower heads peanuts are a choking hazard for birds, especially the smaller species. High in fat, suet can help the birds pack on the pounds when they need it the most. can prove to be a hugely enjoyable task for sparrows and finches. 6. 7. BIRD HOUSES & BOXES WATER It's only natural our bird visitors Water for birds to drink and OVERRIPE FRUIT bathe in can be a rare want somewhere If you have overripe apples heading for the bin or recycling, chop them into small pieces and scatter them commodity when the temperature plummets below 0°C and natural sources begin to freeze. Putting a little cosy and protected to hide out when the weather onto the grass for thrushes and blackbirds. turns rough. Here are our top bird house and bird box tips. water out for birds can be a huge help. 8. 9. AVOID NOVELTY PRODUCTS PLAN AHEAD Brightly coloured bird boxes and houses could attract Add the bird house or bird box to the garden before the height of winter. This gives non-migratory birds somewhere to make roots predators, and metal, plastic or ceramic designs may provide insufficient protection against the elements. We'd suggest going before the weather takes a for the tried-and-tested real turn for the worse. wooden bird box. 10. I. 12. SPECIES-SPECIFIC POSITIONING FACE AWAY It's important to consider the species of bird before positioning the bird box or house. Sparrows, tits or starlings will appreciate a bird box about 3m above ground, PROVIDE A FROM THE CLEAR SUN & WIND FLIGHT PATH To give the birds the very best home life, position the bird box or house away from the daytime sun and, where possible, any strong, wet winds. For the very best chance that your bird accommodation whereas robins and wrens prefer their homes under 2m from the ground, and hidden in vegetation. finds a tenant, ensure that the path to the entrance is clear and accessible. 13. 14. HANGING BIRD FEEDERS FRIENDLY BIRD BATHS Food can be scarce enough EQUIPMENT for birds during the winter months, without competition Birds still appreciate the chance to have a wash in the from land-based animals. To help encourage the birds to visit your garden paradise, there are a few bits of kit you winter months, and natural sources of water may freeze over at this time of year, so a shallow bird bath is a must. Well-positioned hanging feeders can ensure the birds enjoy their treats without disruption. can erect. 15. 16. Extra Tips and BE WARY OF CATS & OTHER REMOVE Wise Words PREDATORS WET FOOD Make sure that all feeders and Birds are unlikely to be lured bird baths are positioned out in the open, so there is Even little changes to how you provide care for the birds can make a huge difference to in by soggy, slushy food, so make sure you remove any nowhere for the local cats food which has been soaked and other predators to hide their welfare and comfort by rain or snowfall. and stalk. during winter. 17. 18. 19. KEEP DOUBLE UP ON CAT WARNING BIRD-FRIENDLY FEEDING If the family cat likes the birds visiting your garden, it may be wise to add a small AREAS CLEAN stalk EQUIPMENT Cleaning the hanging feeders, bird tables and feeding areas clean can help minimise the risk of disease passing between birds. By doubling up on any garden equipment, you'll have spares when the originals are being washed or are air drying. bell to their collar. This can alert the birds to the cat's presence when they're stalking their prey. 20. 21. BE CAREFUL DON'T FORGET WITH YOUR OTHER VISITORS And finally, whilst you're caring for the birds, be careful not to overlook other animal visitors to your garden - including the inquisitive family dog. Don't put anything out for the birds which may be FOOD CHOICE Sending dinner scraps to the birds can be dangerous for our winged friends. Check any food items are safe for birds before scraping them into the feeder. harmful to other wildlife. CAPITAL GARDENS The Natural Place for Gardening Capitalgardens.co.uk | 0208 348 5054 Sources: http://www.discoverwildlife.com/care-your-garden-birds-winter https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid%382 http://www.homebase.co.uk/en/static/how-to-look-after-birds-in-winter http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/12165505/Novelty-nest-boxes-putting-garden-birds-at-risk-warns-RSPB.html

21 Things You Can Do to Look After Garden Birds in Winter

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It's that time of year when the temperature drops and green-fingered enthusiasts are forced to spend less time in the garden and more indoors. While your garden birds don't have such a luxury, there...

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