Helping wild birds through the winter
October 10, 2019
Winter’s approaching and you might start to spot some more unusual wild birds in your garden. They’ll be searching for food and we often get enquiries about the best ways to encourage birds to visit and how to look after them.
With that in mind, our experienced vet nurses at All Creatures Healthcare have put together some tips. Don’t forget, whatever your query, our head nurse Sarah and the team are here to help.
Wild birds can find it tough to survive the transition from autumn to winter, especially if they’ve flown long distances.
The days are shorter, meaning they’ve less time to replenish their fat supplies, so your garden can become a real winter sanctuary, providing both shelter and food for wild birds.
As well as some of the berries and shrubs that might already be growing in your garden, birds are partial to things like dried mealworms, seed mixes, peanuts and everyday leftovers, such as bacon rind and fat.
Once word gets out that there’s a reliable and safe food source, you’re likely to be rewarded as your usual visitors bring along some more unusual friends. Birds you might spot this winter include: robins, goldfinches, bullfinches, a variety of tits and possibly migratory birds including redwings and fieldfares.
If you’re really lucky, you might even see the real star of the wintering birds – the strikingly plumaged waxwing.
So, leave some untidy areas of garden for shelter and build or buy some feeders and bird tables. Then sit back, watch and listen to the fun. When you’re positioning food remember to bear the birds’ safety in mind and:
- Put food where birds have a 360° view and can easily fly away from danger
- Squirrel-proof any feeders
- Restrict the amount of food you put out at any one time but ensure a regular supply
- Don’t suddenly stop putting food out – the birds will come to rely on you