Keep an eagle-eye on birds this winter – West Somerset Free Press

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Tuesday, 7 December 2021 – Environment
by Contributed
The RSPB has issued advice that feeding garden birds is more important than ever this winter – and that watching the nature on our doorsteps is good for our well-being too.
Interest in garden birds and other wildlife has soared over the past 18 months, with the number of people using the RSPB’s online bird identification tool shooting up by 95 per cent in 2020.
Taking the time to watch which feathered friends make use of your bird table or window feeder can often help to reduce stress and restore calm. Not only does it benefit humans, but with over 60 per cent of the UK population regularly feeding their garden birds, research suggests that this helps around 196 million birds a year.
According to the RSPB, keeping feeders and water trays topped up is important at this time of year to help garden birds survive through the winter as natural food sources run low. Providing high-energy food will help them build up the fat reserves they need to keep warm, and as a result the garden could soon become a hive of activity.
And for those without a garden, window feeders can prove just as popular with our feathered friends. Check out the RSPB’s handy guide to making a recycled window feeder from objects found around your home here.
If bird feed supplies are running low, kitchen cupboards can hold the answer. According to the RSPB, fruits like apples and pears, even when they’re past their best, can be snapped up by blackbirds and thrushes, while grated mild cheese can be a fantastic source of energy and protein for a range of birds.
Cooked pastry, defrosted peas or unsalted bacon leftovers are also great options, as well as cooked rice, pasta and the inside of potatoes providing a great energy source.
The charity, which has been monitoring trends in garden bird numbers for over 40 years, is on hand to provide top tips on how to attract wildlife to the garden as part of the RSPB’s popular Big Garden Birdwatch survey.
To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, which runs from Friday January 28 to Sunday January 30, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or text BIRD to 70030 for a free guide, which includes a bird identification chart, top tips birdwatch and an RSPB shop voucher.
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