With very early autumn conditions being labelled as a “false” autumn at the end of August, followed by almost spring-like conditions and then the big freeze last week, it’s fair to say that British wildlife is probably very confused right now.
After being followed round the garden by a winter favourite, the robin this weekend, one of the chXout® team decided to look into what they could do for garden birds in this weather. With no bird seed and not a whole lot to choose from in the kitchen, it seemed like this might be a bit of a challenge.
We should note that with the prevalence of bird flu at the moment, interaction with wild birds should be kept to a minimum and it is important to wash your hands before and after replacing food.
As more people seem to be aware of now, the last thing we should really be feeding any type of birds is bread. Although it is not dangerous to garden birds, it does not offer them any valuable nutrients.
With a quick bit of research here are some things you might find in your kitchen to help out the birds in your garden this winter:
- Cut up raisins, sultanas or currents
- Crushed plain biscuits
- Stale plain or fruit cake
- Unsalted nuts
- Mild grated cheese
- Cooked pasta or rice
- Cooked boiled potatoes
- Apples, pears or soft fruits
- Dried out breadcrumbs in small quantities
The RSPB advises that this time of year putting food out twice a day can help birds to maintain their fat reserves through the winter. Make sure to leave the food somewhere sheltered and safe for the birds to feed. Also take care to keep it away from pets where foods might be toxic, such as raisins are to dogs.
It is also helpful to them to place out warm water in containers for drinking and bathing during frosty conditions where access to usually water sources may be limited.
Another thing we like to do after brushing the dog is leave the hair outside in a sheltered place as birds love to use this for lining their nests.
The little robin this weekend particularly enjoyed some crushed digestive biscuits and cut up raisins.
You can see him/her here with the food on the fence post sheltered by the hedge.