Tag Archives: garden birds

Garden Birds in Winter

At the moment this little chappie and thousands like him are facing
  • blizzards
  • gales
  • sub zero temperatures

Blue Tit in Summer

Lets hope he survives this harsh winter and can sing and enjoy the sun in 2010

We can help.

A Blue Tit spends 85% of a winter’s day looking for food.  So it spends a lot of energy trying to find food. 

If food is available on a bird table, a hanging feeder or on the ground the birds will have more energy to see them through the freezing night.  This applies to many birds not just Blue Tits.

Lack of food can made a bird less alert and so more likely to be caught by predators, or if it does not get enough fat to last through the night it may die

Sometimes winter weather looks beautiful, but it hides the harshness of winter

Nowhere to shelter

Nowhere to shelter


If you would like a place to meet and discuss birds in winter click this link which will take you to my  Bird Table News Forum which I’m able to take part in after a break




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Helping Birds in Winter

In winter bird’s natural supplies such as insects and seeds run out and many garden birds, especially the small birds do not survive the freezing winter.

This freezing winter weather can be a killer for garden birds

Putting food out for garden birds is a way to stop garden birds from dying.

Putting food out for garden birds will really help them survive and is a positive thing to do.

I know this weather makes it hard for us as well.  I myself hit a pothole and punctured two tyres one freezing evening.  At the moment  the snow is closing in near us, but if we can turn our thoughts to bird feeding we can all help our garden birds pull through the winter. 

There are many things outside our control that cause the decline of the bird population.  Feeding birds is something that is within our control.

There are may types of bird food on the market and if you would like any advice please let me know.

Putting out kitchen scraps and recycling old food is a good way to feed birds

Fruits such as apples, pears soaked dried fruit can be fed to birds.

Nuts are rich in fat.  Hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts can be fed to birds.  The most common nut we feed to birds is the peanut (unsalted peanuts)

Other kitchen scraps that can be used are cooked potatoes, rice, cake, cut up or grated cheese, ham fat.

Lard is good for birds in winter.  I often melt some lard.  When it is melted I pour it over bird food and mix it together.  This does not make a fatball – it just gives birds fat coated bird food.

Lets all join together and all put bird food out across Britain this winter.  It is really the worst weather in ages.

If you have any tips or would like advice please let  me know.

Decline in Garden Birds

In 2008 robins, great tits and garden warblers had their worst breeding season that has ever been recorded.

 These birds, along with other species, have been monitored by a ringing scheme over the past 25 years by the British Trust for Ornithology

 The  organiser of the Trust’s Constant Effort Sites (CES) ringing scheme, Mark Grantham stated that  last year’s wet and windy summer once again played a large part in reducing the number of chicks birds were able to rear successfully.

 The blackbird, great tit and song thrush had a drop of more than 30% in the number of young they reared.  This is a disaster.

 2008’s breeding problems followed on from 2007’s breeding problems – when May to July was the wettest on record.

  Rain over long periods in the breeding season can stop parent birds from finding food for their young.  The parents have to stay away from the nest for longer as it takes longer to find food when it is torrential rain as food is inaccessible (This must be  why I have so many birds at the feeders when it is raining)

 The young chicks can also get wet in the nest, get drenched, wet and die in the nest.

 If this bad weather in the breeding season continues how this garden will birds cope.

 What I wonder is – with such a drop in the numbers of garden birds rearing their young shouldn’t the RSPB look into the matter of Birds of Prey attacking garden birds. Surely if the number of birds being reared is declining then the fact that birds of prey are taking garden birds as well much effect garden bird numbers.

Lets feed these garden birds and help them survive.

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For and against sparrowhawks

I received two comments about sparrowhawks –

Thomas said,

I don’t think you can ever blame natural predators for doing what they do naturally.

Songbird numbers have declined because of changes in our farming and living practices (lack of food and nest sites) and probably due to ever increasing numbers of cat ownership (there is stong evidence cat predation takes millions of songbirds each year), none of these are natural controls in this country.

  • It’s always a very easy route to blame a natural predator, because then we don’t have to make changes to our lives. Many natural wild predators do not have predators themselves, but the fact of the matter is that what keeps them in check is numbers of its prey items. If a predator out eats its food source, it will then either starve or just breed less and then its food source should recover.Don’t forget that sparrowhawks and song thrushes have been continually existing alongside each other far longer than we have been around and should we disappear they would continue to do so.
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    Liz said,

  • My garden in Aberdeen has been visited by sparrohawks which have taken a few of my precious garden birds which I love and cherish.

    When I visited the RSPB website and phoned to ask for advice, I found them more interested in the welfare of birds of prey and the introduction of more of them into the area (which is highlighted in our local paper and seems to come under ‘conservation’), although they did send me a fact sheet detailing ways to deter sparrowhawks, like hanging up CD’s from trees, which hasn’t worked. We have also a problem with crow/rooks/ravens which swoop on our baby birds which have flown into our garden to be fed by their parents.

    [ad#125x125square]I am very interested in knowing more about ‘Songbird Survival’ and any ways to protect baby birds from predators.

    With reference to cats – I have a high fence which I have nailed ‘anti-cat’ rubberised prong lengths which stop cats from gaining access. I am so glad to find people concerned about garden birds. Cheers. Liz