Swooping, twittering and hopping from branch to branch: is there anything more restful than quietly observing local birds from your kitchen window on a Sunday morning? Well, at this frosty time of year, it’s more important than ever to help our feathered friends. In honour of our marvellous new Garden Birds range, here are a few of our favourite tried and tested tricks to help birds during the winter…
- Feed Them Up. Local birds will appreciate being left tasty treats all year round, but it’s an especially useful lifeline during the winter. They’ll gratefully gobble up your kitchen scraps (including little bits of cheese, dried fruit, pastry cuttings or the fat trimmed from unsalted meat), so don’t think you need to buy bird food if it’s not something you have to hand. But, if you fancy making them a special treat of their own, why not make some fat balls with your children? Little helpers will enjoy rubbing seeds into lard and fashioning them into balls to hang from the trees in your garden, and it makes a perfect rainy afternoon activity if you think your kids need a break from all those screens. Pop the fat balls on the ends of branches or attach them to bird feeders, and sit back and see which birds you can spot flying in and out of your garden.
- Scatter Seeds In Sheltered Places. As well as making fat balls or leaving bird feeders full of seeds, think about scattering bird seeds in sheltered parts of your garden. Some birds prefer to eat in private, sheltered spaces rather than the open areas around bird feeders, so scatter peanuts, mixed seeds, sunflower seeds and other varieties beneath thickets, hedgerows, under your decking area or even on the edge of a clump of trees or in brambles.
- Give them shelter Frigid wind, frosty temperatures and icy rain make this time of year particularly difficult for some birds, so help birds during the winter by giving them somewhere warm and dry to shelter. A bird box is a great idea, but just be sure to position it as far out of reach of neighbourhood cats as possible. Also, if you’re doing any winter gardening, don’t be tempted to cut shrubs back too far. Instead, let evergreen shrubs and trees grow a little more wild so small birds have somewhere safe to shelter and consider planting varieties of ivy, holly, juniper and gorse for protection to be used in future years.
- Break The Ice. Birds need somewhere to drink and wash their feathers, but they have a particularly tricky time finding water when the weather is very cold. So, if you have a birdbath in your garden, break the ice if you notice the water has frozen over. You can even pop a ping pong ball on the surface of the water - a light breeze will keep the ball moving along the surface, preventing the water from icing over during cold snaps.
- Anticipate Bad Weather. Finally, keep your eyes peeled for changing weather that could prove tricky for local birds. You can help birds during winter by knowing when to stock up on more bird food, when to clean your birdhouse out and when to expect periods of snowfall, and while our feathered friends don’t need us to do these things for them, it certainly helps to make life a little easier. And what’s better than that? Those are just a few of the ways the Sophie Allport team helps their local bird population.
Do you have any bird-care tips to share? And if you’re a true bird-lover, why not check out our new Garden Birds collection? Featuring marvellous British birds including thrush, woodpeckers, blue tits, wrens and bullfinches, we have exquisite mugs, beautiful bags, charming aprons and plenty more to choose from in admiration of our feathered friends.