Last modified: 14 December 2015
Image: Nigel Blake
This year has been unusually mild so far, resulting in plenty of natural food for birds but, once this starts to run out, you’ll see more birds arriving at your feeders.
A bird’s body clock works on daylight hours, so in the winter months there are great opportunities to view the birds feeding at first light, which can become a bit of a feeding frenzy. If you watch your garden birds regularly you’ll notice that they’ll come down to feed again in the late afternoon, before they go and find somewhere to roost overnight.
It’s hard to believe but during cold weather birds can lose up to 40 per cent of their weight overnight just trying to keep warm.
Food that’s high in energy is fantastic for birds in the winter month - peanuts, fat or suet based foods, seed mixes that contain sunflower seeds or hearts, mealworms and fruit will all go down well. You can also make your own fat balls and cake mix using lard and suet – a great rainy day activity with the kids or grandkids!
Place lard and suet at room temperature in a mixing bowl, add in uncooked porridge oats, mild grated cheese, peanuts, sultanas, raisins and bird seed. Mix it all together and roll into balls or use shallow dishes to create bird cake. Put them in the fridge to set, and when they are solid place them outside.
However remember not to feed turkey fat to feed your birds as it’s too soft and can get into their feathers, which can cause problems.
For more tips on giving nature a home this winter, visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes.