The National Pet Month team are eagerly awaiting this year’s Big Garden Bird Watch which runs from 29-31 January. RSPB are urging the nation to enjoy an hour with nature and discover the wildlife on our doorstep. Taking part is easy, all you have to do is spend an hour counting birds in your garden or from your balcony or window.
With the spotlight thrown on nature’s wonders in our garden, it is good to know we can all do our bit to support the local bird population. Feeding the birds during winter will also provide an important lifeline for them.
Our friends at PFMA advise us that birds need high energy, high fat foods such as fat/suet balls and sunflower seeds during the winter. Here PFMA share some handy tips for bird care during the cold spell.
- Different species of birds have different requirements. Some species are ground feeders (E.g., Robin and Dunnock) while others prefer to feed from hanging feeders (e.g., Blue Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker). There is a wide range of products on the market suitable for hanging feeders, bird tables and ground feeding.
- Birds need to drink and bathe daily – even when it’s cold – help birds by providing a fresh supply of water.
- Hygiene is important, leftover food should be cleared daily and feeding stations, water containers and baths kept clean.
- Think about location – provide shelter from harsh weather and in an open, safe place away from hiding predators.
- Think about other animals in the household. Foods such as raisins, currants, sultanas, and grapes are poisonous for pets.
With the checklist completed, you can now sit back and await your guests – be patient, it may take a few days. Remember you don’t need a garden to feed the birds – a balcony or window will also work.
Nicole Paley at PFMA tells us why bird feeding is so important: “The winter months provide a challenge for birds, as frosts, winds and snow can make it hard to find natural food supplies. Some smaller birds need to eat 30-40% of their body weight to survive the winter and supplementary feeding can provide a lifeline. We have some great advice here: https://www.pfma.org.uk/wild-birds
on how to support the local wildlife:”