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Spare a thought for the birds

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 14:12 UK time, Friday, 8 January 2010

The current spate of cold weather is causing havoc for us humans but spare a thought for the wildlife out there and in particular - the birds.

The ground is too hard for birds to forage for seeds and berries as normal and many water birds may be forced to leave lakes and ponds as they freeze over.

The RSPB offers this advice for helping birds out during the harshest weather:

  • Put out hanging feeders for black sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, sunflower-rich mixes or unsalted peanuts.
  • Ensure a supply of fresh water every day. If it is very cold use tepid water but do not use any anti-freeze products.
  • Put out fruit, such as apples and pears, for blackbirds, song thrushes and other members of the thrush family.
  • Food bars or fat hung up or rubbed into the bark of trees is a great help for treecreepers, goldcrests and many other species.
  • Put up nest boxes to provide roost sites for the smaller birds. They will then be used for breeding later in the year.

Image by Sue Tranter (RSPB images):
You might also see a change in bird behaviour as birds become more sociable - huddling up at night to conserve heat, feeding more hastily in the mornings as they replenish lost energy and flocking together to improve their chances of finding food.

Don't forget - you can also throw out old food scraps - fruit, cereals, cooked rice and pasta, cheese, unsalted bacon etc and drinking water is also crucial.

Find out more at the RSPB website.

Garden birds in winter - watch video clips.



  • Comment number 1.


    We were really interested to see your video clip re the Blackcap and especially to discover that only about 3000 over winter across the UK. We are delighted to advise that we have both a male and female regularly visiting our garden in Undy, Monmouthshire during this current cold snap and both seem addicted to apples.

    Actually, on Undy standards, we are doing very well generally this year for birds with numerous blackbirds, sparrows, our faithful robin, song thrush, collared doves, wood pigeon, blue tits, great tits, wagtails, chaffinch as well, of course, as starlings rewarding us for the daily supply of bread, apples, seed, sunflower seeds, nuts etc. We sincerely hope that the many feline neighbours to our garden keep well away.


    Fred & Margaret, Undy


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