Autumn makes me consider the inside; mash becomes a staple of my evening meals, soups become more desirable. It’s also my favourite time outside, the changing season brings so much colour to our beautiful gardens, parks and woodlands. The trees start to become a little more open as they drop their leaves. I love this time of year, it’s much better for spotting the returning birds.
Many of our favourite garden visitors begin to prepare for their long sleep through the winter months. Some species, such as hedgehogs, truly hibernate. Whereas others, such as frogs, enter a state of torpor from which they will occasionally rouse to search for food. Birds don’t hibernate, they are awake eating even in the harshest weather. In September, they begin to prepare for the winter months, after their summer moult they start the return to our gardens and parks. It is at this time of year where there are lots of things you can do to support them.
The days grow shorter after the summer is over and we start to hideaway indoors. It’s important to spare a thought for our feathered friends. To survive the cold, birds must fatten up to increase their chances of survival. Each day presents a fresh challenge to source food.
High-energy food goes a long way
Supporting your garden birds with high-energy foods like Natural Suet, Autumn-Winter Mixes and Peanuts is a lifeline for them. Our Autumn Winter mix is packed with delicious natural seeds; no fillers or wheat. It is a complete mix with suet, mealworms and kibbled peanuts too. Lots of small seeds that birds love and no husks or black-sunflower hearts that take up precious energy to remove.
I recommend getting the feeders prepped and stocked up. If you’ve had empty feeders over the summer birds might take a little longer to return to your garden, but be patient they will come.
The feast we recommend:
- A good Autumn Winter mix – with quality seeds, nuts & mealworms
- Natural Suet Pellets
- Peanuts – hang them in a peanut feeder, avoid the plastic netting it’s terrible for the environment and birds
- Add fruits like apples to the garden – these are loved by Blackbirds & migrants like Fieldfares and Redwings
Feeding the birds helps you reconnect with nature. Hearing birdsong and seeing them is a fabulous way to beat the Autumn and Winter blues.
Put down the secateurs – go wild!
As soon as those petals and leaves drop people go mad for their snippers. This autumn prepare for the winter & next year by leaving your garden to go a little wild. By leaving seedheads, this will feed birds and other wildlife during the autumn and winter months. After your birds return to your garden once the weather grows colder, this harvest will largely be to their benefit.
Wildflower meadows can also be sown now, ready for the next spring. These can include plants like bird’s foot trefoil, field scabious, ox-eye daisy and red clover. These meadows will feed insects, which in turn will feed garden birds.
We recommend using SeedBoms like the ones from our friends in Glasgow, Kabloom
Create a pond or a bird bath
Your birds need lots of clean, freshwater. You could gather this outside instead of tap water. Add a ping-pong ball to your birdbath, plant tray or tub to stop the water freezing over. Creating a pond is a great way to support birds, mammals and insects.
Birds use ponds/birdbaths for drinking and bathing throughout the year, and a wealth of other wildlife will also benefit. This does not have to be a massive project, as an upturned dustbin lid or old washing up bowl is just as useful. There are some really good resources online about making ponds and what plants you might want to use.
Clean out nest boxes
When the breeding season is over, towards the end of September, it is a good idea to clean out the nest boxes in your garden. Place the contents in your compost heap and use boiling water to clean out any parasites. After the box has dried out, replace the lid and hang it back up. Wrens and other small birds may use the box to keep warm during the winter. Remember to keep cleaning your bird feeders regularly.