The RSPB’s Feed the Birds Day on 30 October is a reminder that garden wildlife needs our help during the colder months of the year.
As the clocks go back and winter arrives, the extra food, water and shelter we provide for birds and other creatures could be the difference between life and death for many species.
If natural food becomes covered in snow and ice, it is impossible to get to and birds begin struggling to find the food they need to survive the winter.
The RSPB is asking people to keep feeders and bird tables topped up with calorie rich-foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed and peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps like grated mild cheese and bacon. A supply of water is also essential for bathing and preening.
If you do some or all of these things, the cold weather could bring all sorts of birds to your garden.
Besides well-known species like blackbirds and robins, your garden may also play host to more unusual species such as blackcaps, reed buntings, woodpeckers and yellowhammers. They may forage over wider areas of the countryside, but can sometimes be attracted to gardens with good supplies of natural and supplementary food.
Carolyn Jarvis, the RSPB’s People Engagement Manager for Northern England, says: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that gardeners in Merseyside saved the lives of thousands of birds last winter by throwing them a lifeline when the weather got really cold.”
“Those lifelines were a mixture of foods, and we’re pleading with everyone to try and do the same again this year.
“There is no better time to step up your feeding and you will soon reap the benefits of a garden full of wildlife. And not just your more common species – you never know what you might attract.
“It really doesn’t matter whether your garden is tiny or huge, there are options for everyone and you will make a difference.”
The RSPB is hosting over a hundred events to get everyone involved in the annual celebration, which marks the clocks going back and the arrival of winter.