Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

 

RSPB giving nature a home

 

 

 

Spreading the warmth
for garden birds this winter

December 2017

black bird

Winter is a challenging time for our feathered friends. Whilst we may enjoy the beauty that this season brings and appreciate it from the warmth of the hearths in our homes, garden birds can find it a gruelling fight for survival as they face the elements. Freezing and starvation are some of the risks birds face, and smaller species need to eat up to a third of their bodyweight each day in order to make it through these harrowing months.


Below are some top tips to help birds over the winter months:

  • Pick ‘n mix: The best thing you can do is to provide a variety of food. But to keep energy up during the colder months, the RSPB suggests calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed, sunflower seed and good-quality peanuts.
  • DIY SOS: Fat balls or homemade bird cakes only take a few minutes to make and are a great activity that can be shared with the grandchildren. These can be made cheaply with lard or suet and are an excellent full-fat winter food.
  • Waste not want not: You don’t have to buy food in specially, kitchen scraps like mild grated cheese, old fruit, cooked rice, unsalted bits of fat, roast potatoes and raw porridge oats will all be gratefully received.
  • Not for consumption! There are some foods you should avoid as they can be dangerous for birds. Cooking fat from the roast or Christmas turkey mixes with meat juices during cooking to make a runny, greasy mixture. This sticks to feathers and stops them from being waterproof. It is often full of salt too, which is toxic to birds. Other foods to avoid are dried coconut, cooked porridge oats, milk, and mouldy or salted food.
  • Keep it flowing: Another essential is fresh water for drinking and bathing. Finding sources of water can be hard with freezing temperatures, but a simple trick will help keep a patch of water ice-free. Float a small item, such as a ping-pong ball, or twig on the surface of the water and even a light breeze will stop it from freezing over.

  • Shelter from the storm: Providing shelter from the harsh weather is extremely important. Plant dense hedges such as privet or hawthorn, or let ivy or holly to grow and you’ll be providing a great place to roost in and shelter from the elements.

  • Winter warmth: Nestboxes are not just used over the summer egg-laying season – many birds will use them on a cold winter’s night. These boxes are frequently communal with many residents packing in together for extra warmth. The record number of birds found in one box is 63 wrens!

Ensuring your garden is filled with food now will improve your chances of having a successful Big Garden Birdwatch. The RSPB’s annual event is on Saturday 27, Sunday 28 and Monday 29 January 2018. To take part, all you need to do is spend one hour at any time over that weekend noting the number of avian visitors to your garden or nearby park. You can sign up for this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch from December 13 at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.


Back to LaterLife Interest Index


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Latest Articles:

Get in the flow with Tai Chi

man and woman doing tai chi

Did anyone out there hear of Tai Chi in the 1960s or 1970s? It was really only in the 1990s that this eastern form of martial art really started to take off globally. Now Tai Chi is practiced by an estimated 240 million people worldwide, including thousands here in the UK, and is said to be of enormous benefit especially to older people.

more

VisitWales

 

Welsh pubs with serious cwtch appeal

Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Llŷn Peninsula by @enlliann (Instagram)

If there’s one thing Wales does well, it’s pubs. We may well be regarded as the land of song, but we can certainly sink a few pints too. Join in with the locals and enjoy a drink or two at one of these breathtaking Welsh pubs. Iechyd da! (or cheers if you like…)

more

What motto would you put on your Coat of Arms?

Coat of arms

Arms and crests are granted by a senior herald, one of the Kings of Arms, and actually anyone can apply for one.

more

Win great prizes in our current Competitions

Silver Travel Glynis Alfa

Click here to visit the competitions page.

Article Archive

The LaterLife Article Archive provides a comprehensive list of links, to all the current regular article series' as well as quick links to older articles.
 
Back to LaterLife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

Bookmark


Advertise on laterlife.com



LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti