Solace in the shorter days
Back in the early days of the pandemic and when lockdown
first took effect in March, we at least all had the spring and summer months to
look forward to. In particular we took solace from our gardens, the wildlife in
them, and of course the joy of seeing the birds we feed. But as we’re now into October and with the
virus still very much affecting all our lives, the prospect of winter ahead and
shorter days, now is the time to think about how we can again find solace
through nature, and observe it from the comfort and warmth of our homes.
With these thoughts in mind, we’ve put together a few ideas
to help you make the most of enjoying the birds in your garden through the
autumn and winter months ahead.
Bring the birds
closer to you
The main reason we’ve previously never advocated sighting
feeders too close to a house, is simply because of it increasing the risk of
bird strikes on windows – in particular large glazed areas such as patio doors.
However, it’s now well understood that vertical lines on or near large panes of
glass can totally prevent the problem, with birds seeing the lines as an
obstacle that they can’t fly through. Indeed, we know of one example where a
homeowner was getting around five dead birds per week as a result of them
hitting the glass on his sunroom (and even with no birds feeders close by) then
replaced the venetian blinds with vertical blinds and entirely solved the
Of course installing vertical blinds is a relatively expensive option, but there’s a really cheap and effective way of achieving just the same result – have a look at this great video from Alex Sally where he uses a special pen to draw thin vertical lines on windows. A further option is to use weighted strings a few inches apart and hang them from a curtain pole. We also sell window stickers to deter birds here.
Increase the variety
of foods and the types of feeders
We’ve long said that the real secret to attracting the
maximum number of birds and different species to gardens, is not just the
variety of food but also the variety of feeder types. This point takes on an
even greater importance at this time of year, because numbers of common species
such as blackbird, robin and chaffinch are inflated because of an influx of
migrants from northern mainland Europe. So along with our resident songbirds,
you can help these migrants get through the winter months so they’re in good
shape for the return journey next spring.
We’ve a comprehensive guide and video, which takes you through the different types of food and feeder to maximise both the number of bird species and their numbers.
Providing clean water
for birds is just as important in the winter months – and gives you great
We often think of providing clean water for our garden birds
for drinking and bathing in the summer months, but perhaps less so during
winter. However, it’s actually just as important to do so when it’s cold, and
in particular in freezing conditions when ice will prevent birds from drinking.
So providing fresh water in a suitable bird bath such as one of these is
really important, and keeping it free of ice is relatively straightforward –
e.g. by removing it (perhaps having loosened it first with hot water) then
refiling with fresh water.
And of course, by having a bird bath in close view of your
chosen window, you’ll get to witness no end of species drinking and bathing.