The weather this September has been beautiful, but we can’t be fooled – our gardens are slowly but surely winding down for Autumn. Migratory birds are headed for warmer shores, the leaves are falling from the trees and the days are getting shorter. The birds in our garden need our support more than ever in the colder months, and they will be relying on us for a supplementary food supply when natural food sources are getting harder to find. Let’s take a look at some things we can do to support the birds in our gardens this Autumn.
Increase the number of bird feeders in your garden
It is important at this time of year to provide plenty of high quality, high energy food for the birds. They will be looking to us for food when natural resources are more depleted. You can add extra seed or suet feeders to your garden and top them up regularly with good quality food to keep your birds well fed. Hanging feeders in the shrubs and bushes will allow the more timid birds to feed safely, and providing a range of table feeders, ground feeders and hanging feeders will make sure all of your garden birds are provided for. Don’t forget to clean your feeders regularly.
Add a nest box to your garden
The sooner you can get your nest box put in, the sooner the birds will make it home. You can make a nest box (there are plans on the internet) or there are various options to buy that have been designed to suit different birds – just make sure they are treated to handle wet weather. If you want to attract blue tits, you need a smaller entrance hole (around 25mm), while bigger birds like great tits and nuthatches need a larger hole. You’ll want to position the box in a sheltered spot, out of direct sunshine and wet winds (between north and east works well) and tilt it forward slightly to make sure the rain doesn’t blow in – if there is algae growing on the tree, this indicates the side that receives the most rain, so it’s best to locate your box on the opposite side. Tits will happily use a nest box positioned 2-4 metres from the ground, while house sparrows and starlings will prefer their new home up in the eaves. Make sure there is nothing obstructing the entrance to the box, and use a nest box plate to strengthen the entrance against inquisitive squirrels and larger birds. The box should be positioned away from bird feeders to avoid disturbance in the Spring. You’re aiming for garden birds to roost or feed in the box in the Autumn, before nesting in the same box the following Spring (although tits look for nesting sites in February or March). If you add more than one nest box to a garden, try to space them far apart to avoid aggressive behaviour.
Leave seedheads and perennial plants
Your garden birds will be grateful for any seedheads you can leave in situ during the Autumn. They may not look as tidy as you’d like, but they provide a great natural source of energy for the birds. Leaving perennials to die back naturally is also a great way to help the birds – thousands of insects will make a home inside the hollow stems of your perennials, and by encouraging an eco-system in your garden you will in turn encourage the birds.
Add a pond or water supply
The birds will be grateful for a clean water supply that is free from ice – a pond will bring a host of insects to your garden for the birds to enjoy too.
Maintain your feeding routine
If you have been using our bird food subscription you will be used to putting out food regularly for your garden birds – and now is the most important time to keep those feeders topped up. Feed regularly, giving as much as the birds seem to eat, don’t let uneaten food sit in the feeders, keep the feeders clean and maintain a good routine throughout the winter months and you will be making a positive impact on so many of your garden birds. Our Autumn and Winter food blends are full of high energy food to keep your birds going in the colder weather.
Add shrubs, hedging, perennials and bare root trees
If you have read our post on creating a wildlife friendly garden, you will know that we can increase the number of birds we see by diversifying the eco system in our gardens. We can do this by adding plants, which provide habitats for thousands of insects (and food for the birds). Autumn is a great time to plant perennials ready for Spring, as well as bare root roses and trees, which provide shelter for birds and can also attract pollinators.
Subscribe to our bird food service and keep your birds going with our healthy and high-energy food blend. Every month you will receive a bag of top quality bird food (free from the fillers you usually find in supermarket blends) as well as an information card filled with advice to help you support the wildlife in your garden. Make a difference to your beautiful garden birds this Autumn with A Little Bird Company.