There’s nothing quite like winter for comfort food: Sunday roasts, warm apple pie, a mug of hot chocolate by the fire. And that’s just for the humans – did you know, you can help spread the festive gastronomic joy with your local birds, too?
Any additional food you can give birds will be particularly appreciated during these colder months, with most of their normal food sources such as worms, seeds, and berries becoming very difficult to find – and they also need additional calories just to stay warm. This doesn’t mean you have to rush out to the shops, however. Birds love eating many of the same foods we do, so you can pop your leftovers out on the bird table as a festive treat.
If this is your first time putting food out for the birds, it might take some time for them to find you, but don’t give up – just keep putting out fresh leftovers every few days so it doesn’t get mouldy, and the birds will come to you. You might be surprised at what turns up! Robins, blackbirds, starlings, and collared doves are all common garden birds, but you may even have a winter migrant bird, such as a redwing, sampling your offerings.
Another great option, if you don’t have leftovers, is packaged bird food. Sparrows, tits, and finches, for example, will all visit feeders containing nuts, fat, or seed mixtures. The insect-eaters, such as dunnocks, robins, and starlings prefer mealworms, while suet-based products are an all-round crowd-pleaser with their high-calorie content.
And now, for the drinks order. Water is key for birds, both to drink and to clean their feathers, but a lot of ponds and rivers freeze over in winter. You can help by putting out a birdbath – you can buy one from the RSPB store, or make one at home. Even a dustbin lid with some stones at the bottom for grip will do the job!
Text BIRD to 70030 or visit rspb.org.uk/birdwatch from 8 December to sign up.
For more ideas, inspiration, and advice, head to rspb.org.uk/yourdoorstep
To learn more about how connecting with nature can support your wellbeing, visit lifecoach-directory.org.uk
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