With temperatures getting lower, garden birds that have benefited from a mild start to the autumn may begin to struggle as the weather changes. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) recommends three key things that us gardeners can do at this time of year to ensure our birds and wildlife continue to thrive over the chilly months ahead:
1. Birds will appreciate a variety of food, and fatty food will be especially helpful. For example, fat balls, or homemade bird cakes made with lard and packed with seeds, fruit or dried mealworms are great treats for a bird feeder or table. Kitchen scraps will work well, such as chopped fat from unsalted meat, cheese, dried fruit, and pastry
2. Unfrozen water for drinking and bathing may be hard for birds to find when there’s been a frost, but with a simple trick you can help to keep a patch of water ice-free. Try floating a small ball, such as a ping-pong ball, on the surface of the water. Even the lightest breeze will keep it moving and stop an area of the water freezing. Water is just as important for birds at this time of year as food is – so don’t forget about it
3. You can provide shelter for wildlife by planting dense hedges such as privet or hawthorn, or allowing ivy or holly to grow. These plants all provide great cover for birds to roost in. Nest boxes can also be good roosting sites – if you’ve not got one in your garden, why not consider putting one up?