RSPB chief's plea to wildlife lovers ahead of Big Garden Birdwatch

Families are being encouraged to give wildlife a helping hand during a winter of lockdown.
Sparrowsget their fill at a garden feeder. photo by Ben Hall, rspb-images.comSparrowsget their fill at a garden feeder. photo by Ben Hall, rspb-images.com
Sparrowsget their fill at a garden feeder. photo by Ben Hall, rspb-images.com

During the last weekend in January families up and down the country will be logging the visitors to their garden as part of the Big Garden Birdwatch run by the charity. Findings from the 2020 birdwatch showed that the house sparrow topped the list.

Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s chief executive, said: “We know that for many people, garden birds provide an important connection to the wider world and bring enormous joy. Lockdown brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people. There has been a broad and much needed realisation that nature is an important and necessary part of our lives especially for our mental health and wellbeing. But nature needs us too.”

Everyone can do their bit to ensure that feathered friends are cared for when their natural food sources are scarce.

Providing fat balls and crushed peanuts can help birds to boost energy, while meal worms are great for insect eaters such as robins and starlings. Seed mixes also provide for many birds with their vast array of calorie-rich contents, or you could pick out favourites such as sunflower and nyjer seeds which contain beneficial oils and proteins.  

Feeding birds need not break the bank as they also enjoy kitchen scraps such as cooked rice and pasta, porridge oats and unsalted bacon.

If the weather turns cold, birds can become more dependent on water provided in gardens.  Making sure your water source remains clean and unfrozen is important in allowing birds to bathe and preen themselves.

To help improve birds’ chances of survival through the colder months, the RSPB has plenty more tips on feeding them at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch 

Wildlife watchers can also make bug hotels, bird boxes and compost heaps. Participants can then log their achievements on the RSPB Wild Challenge website and collect bronze, silver and gold awards. To find out more, head to rspb.org.uk/wildchallenge.