Birds on your doorstep

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WINTER is now on its way and so it’s time to make arrangements for colder weather.

This includes the birds, which have moulted into new feathers and need to fatten, providing energy and calories for generating warmth.

After a poor breeding season countrywide, owing to first excessive dryness and then relentless rain and wind, many fewer young birds than usual have survived ─ if indeed the adults succeeded in nesting at all. Those that have survived now face a winter with less wild food available than formally, owing to the pressures on our countryside and other factors.

Helping birds is therefore particularly useful this coming winter. Practical suggestions include: 1) Have a bird table which is kept clear of droppings and old food.

2)Position it away from low vegetation where cats might lurk but near to a hedge or bush where birds can dive for cover if a sparrowhawk swoops in.

3) Don’t put too much food out at once to avoid soggy or mouldy food accumulating: little and often is much the best.

4) Hang peanut and seed feeders under your bird table, not on the edge, to protect from rain. Alternatively fix a plastic lid through the top loop to extend protection.

5) Provide water but, as with the bird table, keep it clear of droppings.

6) Fix a small branch or two on the bird table sides to enable shyer birds to approach cautiously. Branches also make the table look less stark and more natural – see photo.


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