It’s time to fill up your feeders and get ready for the RSPB’s 40th Big Garden Birdwatch
Last year, over 9,000 people in Lincolnshire (and almost 500,000 people nationally) took part in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. This January we are calling on your help again, to count the wildlife that’s counting on you.
All you need to do is sit down for an hour with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and watch and record the birds that visit your garden or local green space over the 26 - 28 January 2019.
By collecting this data year-on-year, with your help, we can monitor the long-term trends of different species: both the highs and the lows! From this, we can work out what we need to do to help.
All of the data you send in from your Big Garden Birdwatch is really important for building a picture of wildlife in gardens throughout the UK, including Lincolnshire.
For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
Do feed your garden birds:
Mealworms - dried or alive, both are enjoyed by insect-eaters like robins, starlings and others.
Sunflower seeds – these are full of beneficial oil and protein. Sunflower hearts (seeds with the husks removed) are less messy and give quick access to the food for birds adapted to seed-eating like blue tits, siskins and house sparrows.
Peanuts - a bird superfood: full of energy. If you’re lucky you may even see nuthatches stealing them and burying these snacks in your flowerbed for later.
Bird cakes and food bars – fat balls and suet bars are excellent winter foods, perfect for building up fat reserves and keeping birds warm, whether you buy some or make your own.
Leftovers - Chopped pears and apple feeders will feed blackbirds, song thrushes, and maybe redwings and fieldfares. Cooked potatoes and pastry, suet, chopped (unsalted) bacon and cheese are also bird-friendly foods.
Don’t feed your garden birds:
Cooking fat – cooked fat from Sunday roasts and Christmas dinners merges with meat juices during cooking. This combination can stick to bird’s feathers and stop them being waterproof.
Desiccated coconut – this swells up inside birds and makes them very unwell.
Milk – bird’s guts aren’t designed to digest milk and can result in serious stomach upsets.
Cooked porridge oats – these stick around their bills, although uncooked oats are fine.
Dry biscuits – birds may choke on the hard lumps.
Salt – garden birds are practically unable to metabolise salt. It is toxic to them in high quantities.