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Gardening Advice and Hints

Gardening hints and advice each month from Alan, our Manager / Partner at Hillmount

Sunday Life Hillmount Gardening Column

 

This week we’re sharing advice about caring for birds ahead of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

This weekend it felt considerably chillier than it has done in the past few weeks and if the sharp, cold weather that has been talked about so much by the forecasters does arrive with gusto anytime soon, it’s important that we’re prepared for ensuring that our feathered friends don’t suffer in their search for food and water.

There are plenty of options when it comes to bird food and feeders. You can hang a feeder from a branch in your garden or you can place energy balls in your bird house and, since we’ve had a distinct lack of rain recently, don’t forget to add some fresh clean water to your bird bath for your chirping visitors to bathe in.

Scatter Peckish seed and nut mix onto the tray of your bird table or pour it into your feeder for attracting birds including the song thrush, chaffinch, robin, sparrow, goldfinch, great tit, blue tit and blackbird.

It’s important to keep an eye on your bird food and remove any wet food from your feeder, tray, bird house etc as this will prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases. Don’t be afraid to clean the feeding, drinking and bathing areas with a mild disinfectant regularly too.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch returns from 26 to 28 January, when we’re all encouraged to count the birds visiting our garden. We’ve been participating in the survey since it began 40 years ago. So to get ahead, you might want to place your feeder and bird house in an area of your garden where you can easily enjoy watching the comings and goings from your armchair or kitchen window. To sign up and take part in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch log onto www.rspb.org.uk.

As well as buying bird food at your local garden centre, there are plenty of plants and shrubs you can plant in your garden which attract hungry birds in winter. If you don’t already have plants and shrubs which attract birds into your garden, some you can consider planting this year for visitors next autumn and winter are holly and ivy, as the holly berries are loved by blackbirds and song thrushes, while ivy flowers attract robins and wrens and their berries are enjoyed by blackbirds and starlings. The leaves of the ivy also provide much needed food for caterpillars. In autumn, the long tailed tit enjoys nourishment from faded sunflowers and rosehip from shrub roses can provide a source of late winter food for blackbirds and thrushes.

 


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