The RSPB has just issued its “wild bird winter survival plan” to help birds get through the worst of the freezing weather. It recommends:
- Put out feed regularly, especially in severe weather. Set up a bird table and use high calorie seed mixes.
- Put out hanging feeders for black sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, sunflower-rich mixes or unsalted peanuts.
- Ensure a supply of fresh water every day. If it is very cold use tepid water but DO NOT use any antifreeze products.
- Put out fruit, such as apples and pears, for Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and other members of the thrush family.
- Food bars or fat hung up or rubbed into the bark of trees is a great help for Treecreepers, Goldcrests and many other species.
- Put up nest boxes to provide roost sites for the smaller birds. They will then be used for breeding later in the year.
This weekend the RSPB is celebrating its annual Feed the Birds Day to remind us of the things we can do to help birds and other garden wildlife through the winter. In addition to providing food they offer these top five tips to make your garden wildlife friendly:
- Plant native plants such as hawthorn, ivy and honeysuckle that will provide berries in the winter for adult birds, and insects for young birds in spring
- Make a log pile – it will be the ideal place for insects, fungi, mosses and lichens
- Provide an insect home – insects will spend the winter in these
- Install nesting boxes for birds such as house sparrows, winter hibernation places for hedgehogs, and roosting boxes for bats
- Create a water feature such as a pond or bog garden – much wildlife relies on a regular supply of freshwater
Read more from the RSPB
See also Build a wildlife stack (RSPB pdf)
Useful list of the best or at least most unusual bird feeders on the market put together by The Guardian here. I liked particularly the above mobile bird feeder. Meanwhile the RSPB’s national Feed the birds weekend starts tomorrow.