Help the birds during harsh winter in West Sussex

THE RSPB is asking people in West Sussex to remember to help birds through the cold snap.

Wednesday, 1st December 2010, 12:09 pm

A winter survival plan has been put together to help vulnerable species make it through the winter.

RSPB south east media officer Sophie McCallum said: “With the harsh winter weather we’re experiencing the wild birds in our gardens will need a little extra help.

“The insects, berries and seeds they would usually feast on become off limits if there is frost and snow. The food and water you put out for them provides the nutrients essential to their survival.

“There is an upside for people too. The chilly conditions may mean that a flurry of rare birds you don’t often see until later in winter will appear earlier as they use our gardens as a safe haven.

“Look out for colourful species like the Siskin and the Waxwing that will add a bit of winter cheer.”

The RSPB winter survival guide:

1. Put out feed regularly, especially in severe weather. Set up a bird table and use high calorie seed mixes. This can also be used to put out kitchen scraps such as grated cheese, pastry and porridge oats.

2. Put out hanging feeders for black sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, sunflower-rich mixes or unsalted peanuts.

3. Ensure a supply of fresh water every day. If it is very cold use tepid water but DO NOT use any antifreeze products.

4. Put out fruit, such as apples and pears, for blackbirds, song thrushes and other members of the thrush family.

5. Food bars or fat hung up or rubbed into the bark of trees is a great help for treecreepers, goldcrests and many other species.

6. Put up nest boxes to provide roost sites for the smaller birds.

They will then be used for breeding later in the year.

More information about helping garden wildlife is available at www.rspb.org.uk/hfw

You can also get advice on feeding garden birds from knowledgeable staff at the RSPB’s Pulborough Brooks.

The newly refurbished shop offers a wide choice of feeders and all the seed and nut mixes to keep them stocked up.