Embercombe’s Rewilding Lead Laura Fairs shares some tips on how to help our feathered friends during the challenging winter months:
This can be the most difficult time of year for small wild birds. Prolonged days of frosty weather restricts their food supply as the bugs and beasties they feed on retreat, in order to protect themselves from the frost, in places the birds can not reach.
But even more importantly, this weather also removes birds regular water supply. Small birds can die of dehydration at this time of year even faster than they can die of starvation. Their normal water supply is frozen over and even the dew drops in the morning are frozen solid, meaning they cannot drink from the leaves, bushes, puddles and crevices they normally use.
If you have a garden window ledge, front doorstep, or even just a small green space outside of your house, please take five minutes to put a metal dish or saucepan outside with fresh warm water. With daytime temperatures staying near zero this water itself can freeze in a couple of hours so remember to top it up later so that the birds can drink before they retreat for the night to their roost.
If you have any birdseed,fat balls or mealworms this is also a great time to put food out for the birds. They need extra energy at this time of year to maintain their body temperature, especially at night when they burn up fat to survive over night. Remember that some birds feed on the ground, some birds feed up high, some birds can grasp onto fat balls where others need to stand on a flat surface to feed – so put your birdseed in a variety of places to accommodate all of the birds that are struggling at this time of year.
Birds are in massive decline, let’s do what we can to support them through this tricky time of year for them. Feel free to share this with others.