Winter feeding

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With sub zero temperatures upon us, RSPB Cymru is advising people to make sure their bird feeders and tables are full of high energy foods.

Richard James, one of the RSPB’s wildlife advisors, said: “The sudden drop in temperatures across Wales and the UK will have been a big shock to birds’ systems after spending the past couple of months with few worries in terms of food availability.

Thanks to the recent mild weather, many natural food sources have been readily available and water has been easy to come by. Now the snow and ice are here birds will need all the help they can get to survive the winter.”

A blue tit at a feeding station in winter by Eddie Evans.

The RSPB suggests calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed, fatballs, suet sprinkles, sunflower seed and good quality peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps, like mild grated cheese, rice and porridge oats.

A supply of water is also essential for bathing and preening. In freezing conditions birds become more dependent on water provided in gardens, since many natural sources are frozen over.

The most effective way to keep the water in your garden from freezing is to pop in a light ball that will be moved by even a gentle breeze and keep a small amount of water ice free – a ping-pong ball is ideal.

Alternatively, pour on hot water to melt the ice to make sure the birds can get to it.

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