I hope you’ve been able to go outdoors to enjoy the last of the amazing autumn weather. The colours have been amazing and as it’s stayed dry for most of the autumn we’ve been able to enjoy golds, reds and russet browns on the trees and on the ground. It is sad to see the last of the colour disappear but at least now it is easier to see those lovely winter flocks of tits, finches and thrushes. So who’s likely to come to dinner at your garden feeders now that autumn is turning to winter? Chaffinches are becoming more numerous in gardens as more birds arrive from Scandinavia. With them come their orange cousin, the brambling. I’ve already had my first brambling of the winter this week and was alerted to its presence by its white rump as it flew up from the lawn. Redwing are also feeding on berries in my garden and I’m still waiting for my first fieldfare, siskin and redpoll.
To attract these birds to your garden, the trick is to keep your feeders full throughout the winter, especially making sure that your feeders are full for the pre-roost and post-roost feed. This ensures that your birds can take in enough calories to survive the long, winter night and replace the fat they lost at first light the following morning. The constant food supply will also create plenty of activity in your garden which will attract passing flocks of birds in search of food. By providing a variety of food in the feeders, on your bird table and on the ground, you could play host to birds such as reed bunting, skylark and yellowhammer if conditions are harsh in the countryside over a period of days. Apples on the ground will be much appreciated either as a fruit or a food source for insects which will be eaten by birds. Try to offer water during cold, dry weather. Birds need to drink and bathe to keep their feathers waterproof and to insulate them from the cold. Keep watching and let me know if you get a new tick for your garden.
My bird song classes have been going well at Rodley Nature Reserve on Wednesday mornings and I’m pleased to say that I’ve now arranged more dates so that you can make it your New Year’s resolution to learn bird song in 2018. Find out more about bird song classes.
As promised, I’ve arranged a few sessions to look for owls and starlings in January and February. You’ll find the dates below and you can book via my website but please do get in touch if you’d like more information. Find out more about watching starlings and owls