Rural Reading: Feed the birds in your gardenBy Adrian Lawson
November 03, 2011
Last weekend was the annual RSPB “Feed the Birds” day, and I cannot recommend highly enough that you take the chance to put out some food for them.
I have been doing it for years – apparently in one in seven of us do. So if one of the other six make the effort, it would make a huge difference to the numbers of birds in our town.
In cold weather food in our gardens can help many birds survive the winter, and that is often touted as the reason to put out food.
But a hungry bird will die eventually of starvation, so having food available all year round means more birds can thrive in your neighbourhood.
In spring many adult garden birds, the tits and finches, for example depend on my feeders for a quick bite in between looking for food for their young.
They feed young birds on caterpillars and grubs, and it is only once they have left the nest that the young start to use the bird food.
In autumn there is so much food around that birds only rarely visit my garden.
But when the weather gets harsh, when the land is frozen or covered in snow, then food in the garden can really make a difference, and then the garden becomes a little haven, often teeming with birds.
Birds can move into your garden that would never otherwise be there.
The best example in my garden is the Reed Bunting.
Last winter there were dozens, and they have been back every winter for years.
These are birds that find the farmland, their normal habitat, increasingly barren, in winter and their numbers have dropped alarmingly.
But don’t expect to see them in your garden this weekend if you start out for the first time.
Give it time, always keep the feeders topped up, and they will come – just wait till it gets cold!