Nurture and Protect Our Feathered Companions
It’s the time of year when everyone tries to bundle up nice and warm and keep the winter weather out. While many species have flown the coop for warmer climates, it’s a good idea to spare a thought for our wonderful resident and wintering birds.
Regular Feeding: High-fat, high-energy foods like sunflower seeds, peanut butter, suet, or mealworms are like gold dust in the winter when food is scarce. Try to make small piles near shelter as well as on your tables and feeders so that the shyer species can dash in and out of cover. Putting out food regularly and making sure the feeders are kept full will almost guarantee a garden full of regular visitors.
Water, Water, Water: When temperatures drop it can be just as difficult to find a good source of water that hasn’t dried up or turned to ice. Try to leave a shallow dish of water out and make sure to replace it as it empties or freezes over.
Bird Housekeeping: It’s never too late to put up a bird house or nest box! Even though the nesting season is over for now, some species (wrens for example) will occupy vacant boxes and fill it with dried grass, dead leaves, and moss to keep warm over winter. If you already have a bird box, it might be worth having a look to see if it had any visitors now that the nesting season is over. If you find the nest box empty, it could be a sign your box is in the wrong place. Try to install the nest box so that it is facing slightly downwards to stop rain, at least 2m above ground, with the entrance facing sunward and away from prevailing winds (usually coming from the Southeast)