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11:28 AM 21st November 2020
nature

Feeding Your Garden Birds Is More Important Than Ever This Winter, Says The RSPB

Birds look to garden feeders as natural food supplies run low
Learn which kitchen scraps and leftovers can betasty treats for birds
Watching the nature on our doorsteps has been reducing stress

Robin - photo Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
Robin - photo Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
This year, we’ve seen how important the natural world is to our mental health and wellbeing. There has been a surge in interest in the nature on our doorsteps and many people have come to rely on garden birds to bring joy and comfort in these unsettling times.

Taking the time to watch which feathered friends make use of your bird table or window feeder can often help to reduce stress and restore calm. Not only does it benefit humans, but with over 60% of the UK population regularly feeding their garden birds, research suggests that this helps around 196 million birds a year.

Goldfinch - photo John Bridges (rspb-images.com)
Goldfinch - photo John Bridges (rspb-images.com)
According to the RSPB, keeping your feeders and water trays topped up is important at this time of year to help your garden birds survive through the winter as natural food sources run low. Providing high-energy food will help your local birds build up the fat reserves they need to keep warm, and as a result your garden could soon become a hive of activity.

What’s more, for those without a garden, window feeders can prove just as popular with your feathered friends. Why not check out the RSPB’s handy guide to making a recycled window feeder from objects found around your home?

Great Tit - photo David Tipling (rspb-images.com)
Great Tit - photo David Tipling (rspb-images.com)
Thankfully, if your bird feed supplies are running low, your cupboards can hold the answer to attracting our feathered friends to your garden. According to the RSPB, fruits like apples and pears, even when they’re past their best, can be snapped up by blackbirds and thrushes, while grated cheese can be a fantastic source of energy and protein for a range of birds. Cooked pastry, defrosted peas or unsalted bacon leftovers are also great options, as well as cooked rice, pasta and the inside of potatoes providing a great energy source.

With a range of options to help tempt your local birds into your garden, the RSPB is urging people across the country to stock up their feeders and ensure fresh water is available as winter brings the toughest and coldest months for birds.

Fancy giving your garden birds a Christmas dinner all of their own?
Packed with fruit and fat, if you can spare a little Christmas cake or pudding, it makes a perfect treat for wildlife. Chopping up your leftover roast potatoes is sure to go down a treat with your feathered friends too, and your cheeseboard scraps needn’t go to waste - robins can’t get enough of mild cheeses like Cheddar and Wensleydale!

Great Tit - photo David Tipling (rspb-images.com)
Great Tit - photo David Tipling (rspb-images.com)
While you can feed a range of Christmas trimmings to birds, be sure not to leave out your leftover turkey or cooking fat for your feathered friends. Remaining soft even when cooled, salty fat can be toxic to birds and can easily smear onto their feathers, ruining the waterproof outer layer which is essential for birds to keep warm and dry in the cold winter weather.

For more detailed information on suitable food for birds and other wildlife, visit the RSPB website.


The charity, who have been monitoring trends in garden bird numbers for over 40 years, are on hand to provide top tips on how to attract wildlife to your garden as part of their popular Big Garden Birdwatch survey.

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, which runs from 29 - 31 January, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or text BIRD to 70030 for your FREE guide, which includes a bird identification chart, top tips for your birdwatch and RSPB shop voucher.