Birds in your garden: November

Posted on: 06 November 2017 by 50connect editorial

With the first frosts of winter, you can give birds visiting your garden an energy boost. Find out how to help.

blue tit

Although many people put out food for birds all year round, winter is the time when extra food is most important, as in cold weather small bodies lose heat fast. A bird the size of a blue tit needs to find a third its own body-weight in food each day throughout winter: which becomes harder with the shorter hours of daylight. So providing extra food for birds can make a real difference.

There is a huge variety of foods we can put out, and the wider the range provided, the more species that will be catered for. Traditional peanuts remain popular with blue tits and great tits, which can even perform acrobatics to reach favoured foods. A seed feeder filled with sunflower seeds or a seed blend will attract tits and finches, although the latter, being less agile, prefer a feeder with perches. Birds such as sparrows like to feed at ground level, and will often gather underneath the feeder to glean whatever falls from above. Fat balls are popular with many, providing a concentrated energy source in very cold conditions. There are also specialist foods now available. Nyger seed appeals to goldfinches and siskins, while live foods like mealworms and waxworms attract robins and others.

Robin in a frosty garden

Remember that as well as food, a supply of clean water for drinking and bathing is equally important. In freezing weather put out a shallow pan of water and check every few hours that it has not frozen.

By Sue Tatman
Cheshire Wildlife Trust Wildlife Gardening Officer

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