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 problem.

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 entertainment!

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.