Sunday, 5 December 2010

Feeding the Birds: A Hard Winter

It only seems like yesterday that the hard winter from earlier in the year had cleared away, and now look outside the window!

It can be difficult to go out to do a bit of bird watching in these conditions; particularly with the hard frost making the conditions underfoot so dangerous; and controlling a pair of binoculars can be painfully cold!  But as always when the weather is bad and we can't get out to see the birds, they come to us!

Our garden is swarming with all the usual suspects: plus an array of finches and tits, with the odd thrush and loads of Blackbird and swarms of Starlings.  The Starlings seem to take over for five minutes and then  the Pied Wagtail that has taken up residence since the snows came chases them all away!  And of, the garden wouldn't be the same without our very own Robin.  Friends have reported Bramblings on their feeders, which is fantastic. Many a flock of winter thrushes pass by on the look out for food; particularly berried trees; which do seem few and far between this year.

For me it's proof that we should feeding the birds at this time of the year is the right thing to do.  They are forced by the hard frost and snow, to forage closer to humanity as their usual sources of food become increasingly inaccessible.  Us making life a little easier for them is surely no bad thing.  Some suggest to me that we are making them too reliant on humans: but we have done so much to finish them off, that a small helping hand is the least we can do.

Two points to note on this: 1. As soon as the weather picks up they'll be off back to the fields and woods to feed in the wild and 2. Many people gain great pleasure from seeing the less frequent visitors come into the garden.  This can only do good, by raising awareness and making people care about our wildlife - to the benefit of them and us!

Anyway, enough of me ranting!  Enjoy the visitors to your gardens, especially those of us lucky enough to have our gardens close to fields and woodland, as this weather will take them all in for a snack!

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