My garden has never been more popular. It’s a hotbed of activity at the moment… well, the little part garden with the bird feeder is. Though perhaps hotbed is the wrong word, since it’s absolutely freezing!
When the temperature dropped a week or so ago the birds started visiting my garden in huge numbers, in a fever of feeding. The snow has made natural sources of food more difficult to find and they expend so much energy just trying to keep warm in these freezing conditions that they need to feed often.
Fatty food is best in the cold, so putting out things like fat balls, good quality nuts and seed, or even grated cheese is a real help. I use sunflower hearts in a seed feeder and they love it. In the last week I’ve had great tits, blue tits, goldfinches and robins, the occasional blackbird pecking around on the floor and even a nuthatch.
Here at the RSPB we’ve had stacks of calls from people telling us about the fieldfares in their gardens too. Not usually known for visiting gardens, fieldfares are being driven into them in their desperate search for food in these harsh conditions.
So, all of this garden activity could mean an exciting year for the RSPB’s 34th annual Big Garden Birdwatch, taking place in the UK on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 January. It’s the world’s biggest wildlife survey and everyone can join in by spending just one hour at any time over the weekend noting the highest number of each bird species seen in their garden or local park at any one time, then submitting the results to the RSPB. Schoolchildren and teachers will be doing the same in their school grounds as part of Big Schools’ Birdwatch between now and Friday 1 February.
Given the extra birds using my garden due to the cold at the moment I’m expecting to have plenty to report.
You can find out more about taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, enter your results online and help with identifying the garden birds you see at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.
Wendy Johnson, RSPB