Winter kicks things off like a cosy movie night. You’re inside, wrapped up in a blanket, watching a diverse cast of garden birds hitting up the feeder like it’s an all you can eat buffet. The kind of relaxing sight you can enjoy from the comfort of your living room, tucked in under your Aran blanket.
As a child, my favourite shows weren’t on a screen – they were the soothing sight of clothes tumbling in the dryer, all the colours twirling gently, and the birds I could see through the kitchen window, savouring the seeds and fat balls my mother thoughtfully left in trees for them.
Food is love. If you feel like upgrading to a superhost status, think about dishing out treats. Make sure you study the bird food menu first for the lowdown on what’s a hit and what’s a miss, and to include all species (mix of seeds, kitchen scraps and fruits). Plant some trees and shrubs, maybe even a wildlife pond so they can also enjoy a bit of bird-jacuzzi time or a beverage here and there.
It’s the easiest and most pleasant way to invite nature into our backyard, turning our gardens into lively ecosystems. As summer struts in, you’ll watch all those baby birds take their first flights.
In winter’s grip, when days are short, nights are long, and natural food is scarce, our feathered friends face a survival challenge. The food we provide becomes their lifeline, a crucial supplement to their foraging efforts. Small birds may find that those calories packed in during the brief daylight hours will salvage them from the cold and dreary winter embrace.
Birdwatch Ireland highlights the importance of year-round bird feeding, as it may take a bit for birds to catch on.
Place your feeder strategically : not too close but also within eyesight, as those will become a prime watching spot. And you’ll see them all.
The audacious orangey-red terracotta coloured Robin, cheeky demeanour, frequent garden guest. Enters the lively Blue Tit, adorned in colourful plumage, hungry for seeds and peanuts and a true nest enthusiast. The titan of the tits, the Great Tit, striking black head, yellowed white patches like a sheep, a bold black band across its bright yellow breast. And the Blackbird, gracing the garden scene with its shyness.
A large nest abandoned, my fingers traced the fibres, the rough surface of grass and twigs. My hands were cold, cool rather, and I listened to sounds, waiting for those who never came.
Now, if you want to be more than just a bystander in this feathered world, have a look on Green Sod Ireland’s website to see how you can support local biodiversity initiatives.
Account, T. D. T. (2022). Garden Birds. BirdWatch Ireland. https://birdwatchireland.ie/irelands-birds-birdwatch-ireland/garden-birds/
Jones, C. (2022). Garden Birds | Ireland’s Wildlife. Ireland’s Wildlife. https://irelandswildlife.com/tag/garden-birds/
Photos by Rory MacCanna: https://www.flickr.com/people/maccannarory/