We are still in the midst of yet another harsh cold winter. This is now the third consecutive winter with large snowfall, plummeting temperatures and regular frost and ice.
Everyone was talking about the impact on bird numbers after last year’s hard winter, when a freezing spell of weather between January and February resulted in the fifth coldest winter in 100 years. The RSPB stated that the wren in particular struggled with breeding couples down 11 per cent. That’s a loss of 700,000 pairs! With snow covering the ground where the wren likes to forage, food was difficult to find for one of our smallest garden visitors.
Which brings us back to this winter, when snow started falling as early as November and with at least 2 ½ months of potential baltic weather to come, what will the records show once the snow has finally finished falling and spring eventually arrives? How many more birds will suffer a drop in numbers?
Unlike other animals, birds don’t hibernate. Some birds migrate away from the cold weather, whilst others from even colder climates migrate to the UK. Birds need to continue to feed to ensure that their energy levels remain strong. They will shortly need to re-double their efforts once they start to enter the breeding season where nests have to be built and young broods need to be looked after and fed.
Thankfully the awareness of the British public has been alerted to these issues and nowadays all sorts of bird feeders and seed mixes are available to buy at garden centres or online. People are also happy to encourage insects and other natural foods into their garden with plants and wild areas set aside to encourage wildlife. Birds are excellent pest controllers in the garden, devouring aphids, vine weevils, mosquitoes, midges and gnats. You don’t have to spend lots of money on bird food either. Birds will happily eat household scraps of food, you would normally re-cycle or throw away. Its great to encourage birds into your garden! You never know, if you put up a nest box in your garden, they may even nest and lay eggs to provide a great spring show for you.
With so many different subjects about caring for birds during winter, we have put together a few links that should be of interest below -
RSPB Advice – Feeding Household Scraps
RSPB Advice – Building a Bird Table
Ten Simple Steps to Help Birds In Your Garden
The Dangers of Fat Balls!
How To Build A Bird Table
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Take part in the RSPB’s annual birdwatch event and help them keep track of bird populations in the UK. Watch your local garden or local park for an hour and record the highest number of each species seen at one time. The RSPB are particularly keen to find out the impact of last year’s harsh winter on bird populations and whether there is a trend occuring year on year.
Buy Bird Feeders
Buy a Birdie Bistro Bird Feeder