Top tips for happy winter birds
If you plan to encourage birds to your garden this winter, make sure you take care of them through the icy cold months ahead. Here are some top tips to get you started.. Introduce a bird table to your garden, and also some high calorie seed mix. With so much food being consumed over Christmas, it's important not to waste kitchen scraps as this can be make a large part of the bird's winter diet. Animal fats, grated cheese and soaked dried fruits will do nicely. Birds like fruit as well, and apples and pears especially are perfect to attract song thrushes, blackbirds and other members of the thrush family. Where possible, place hanging feeders around your garden and fill them black sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, sunflower-rich mixes or even peanuts... but not the salty ones! Place the feeder near up high, near a tall shrub tree or fence. This provides the birds with protection from other predators. If you have the space, plant some berry-bearing plants, such as hawthorn, rowan, holly, cotoneaster and berberis. As well as these useful plants, you may want to consider leaving some wild, weedy or shrubby areas in the garden to provide a natural seed source. As well as seeds, this will also provide natural cover and a supply of small insects. Remember, birds need to drink just like we do, so ensure a fresh supply of water is available daily. With the harsh winter approaching, you may need to consider using tepid water to avoid it freezing. Food bars or fat hung up or rubbed into the bark will help treecreepers, goldcrest and many other species throughout the winter. To encourage breeding once the winter is over, put up nest boxes to provide roost sites for the smaller birds.