Five Tips to Help Look After Our Wild Birds
In the cold weather, wild birds struggle to find their natural food supplies, so they fly into our gardens looking for food and water. At home, we put out left-over food and have several bird baths that rain water collects in for your wild birds to drink and bathe in.
The RSPB suggest five tips to make our gardens safer places for wild birds to live in:
Quality Food: Ideally, put out rich food that is high in calories. We are thinking more suet than Subway! Either put the food in a hanging bird feeder, or leave it on the ground for the birds to find. We always leave food in the same place so the birds know where to look. It makes you feel guilty when they swoop down and you haven’t left anything out in time.
Fresh Water: If you can remember, the RSPB recommends that you put out a fresh bowl of water each day for drinking and bathing. To stop it freezing, try floating small twigs in it, or a ping pong ball. We don’t manage fresh water each day, but we do use the water from our water butt to fill up any bird baths that are drying out.
Bird Table: If you have space, and if you aren’t at risk of rats, then make a bird table that you can leave old scraps of food on. Cheese crumbs, fruit, porridge oats, unsalted bacon and potato pulp are all great for birds.
Nest Boxes: You can find simple, warm birds nest boxes in Poundland. They don’t have to be flash or pretty, just functional. Small birds will roost in them in cold weather and other birds may use them to nest in during the summer. At our house, we see robins and finches diving in and out of the hedge, so we are mindful to leave it thick enough to keep them safe when we are trimming it.
Keep it Clean: Birds can suffer from sicknesses too, so remember to clean all the food and water dsihes from time to time. Don’t mix new food with rotting remains and remember to wash your hands before and after handling their food and water.
The tip we would add, is to leave some ‘mess’ in your garden. A few extra twigs, or a pile of rocks here and there provides a bit of shelter to other small animals who might need protection from the elements. I always think that they were here first, so we should try and live alongside them, not push them out.
By attempting as many of these simple points as possible, you will be doing your part to protect our wildlife. In return, you get the pleasure of watching the birds and squirrels fly and scamper across your garden as soon as they spot the food. Enjoy!
by Loretta Cotterell – www.lorettacotterell.co.uk