Waxwing at Brandon Marsh Nature Centre
Feeding birds in your Garden
Providing food for birds throughout the year is one of the best things you can do to encourage wildlife into your garden.
A general mixed bird feed on a bird table or in suitable feeders will encourage many urban birds into your garden, giving them essential energy, especially during the winter months. Make sure you also provide access to clean drinking water so that the birds can drink and bathe.
Did you know that 1 in 10 Robins do not survive to reach their first birthday. The oldest robin recorded in the UK was 12 years old.
In the winter, fat balls containing a mixture of fat and seeds will attract blue-tits and great-tits. Make sure that you remove the nylon mesh which many of these fat balls come in to ensure that their feet do not get caught up in the mesh. They can be injured or become entangled around their feet causing un-necessary distress.
You can also feed them with grated cheese or finely chopped, unsalted bacon rind.
The favourite bird food has to be peanuts which are high in fats and protein and loved by finches, tits, nuthatches and woodpeckers. Always use a peanut feeder or crush the peanuts into small pieces rather than leaving whole peanuts, as these may choke young birds in the spring.
Sunflower seeds and Niger seed is great for attracting gold finches and siskins. Mealworms are a great source of protein attracting birds such as robins and thrushes. Fruit such as apples, pears and plums will attract thrushes, blackbirds and winter migrants such as wonderful waxwing which visit our shores from Scandinavia in varying numbers every winter.
Buying bird food from Vine House Farm will benefit both birds and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust as 5% of your purchase will go to the Trust.
You can also feed birds with dog or cat food, or certain left-over foods from your meals including cooked rice, grated cheese and breakfast cereals, so long as they are finely chopped. Crushed stale biscuits and bread may be used but soak them first to avoid choking birds.
Hygiene is very important to ensure viruses and diseases are kept at bay so always clean your bird feeders and bird tables before topping up with food. Use a spray disinfectant but make sure that you rinse and leave to dry before adding fresh food. Don't bring your feeders into your house to clean them - do it outside and wear gloves. Always wash your hands when you've finished.
The easiest way to provide food for birds in your garden is to have a wildlife-friendly garden. Certain plants such as holly, ivy and spindle will provide berries, fruit and seeds. Avoid pruning fruiting plants until the birds have had their fill.
Most importantly, stop using slug-killers and other chemical pesticides. Birds and other wildlife will feed on the bounty of insects.
Injured or Sick Wild Animals
The Nuneaton & Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary rescues sick, injured and abandoned birds and animals. They are given medication, rest and recuperation in preparation for release back into the wild. They have a fully equipped wildlife ambulances in which they perform emergency rescues around the clock as well as receiving casualties through the door 24/7.
If you find an injured wild animal, please contact Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary.
78 Oaston Rd