" Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird? "
~ DAVID ATTENBOROUGH
Who wants to fatten up this winter?
Whilst some of us fervently attempt the opposite (with very little success may I add), the one's that really do need to fatten up are our feather friends. The winter months are long and hard for our native birds. For birds that are commonly found in the UK in winter, such as Blue Tits or the iconic Robin Redbreast, the shortened daylight hours, depleted seeds and often frozen ground present real difficulties for them finding food. On cold nights, Robins can lose 10% of their body weight. You can help them replenish vital energy by making fat balls. The suet or lard balls packed with bird seed will give the birds energy to keep going through the winter months and our step by step guide below shows you exactly how to make the perfect fat balls.
This is one messy activity that the kids and the birds will love in almost equal measure!
Mix 1 part lard / suet with 2 parts bird seed, gently heat in a saucepan and allow to cool.
THE BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH 2022 WITH THE NSPB
This month (between the 28th and 30th January) the RSPB will launch their Big Garden Birdwatch
. They are asking people to stop for an hour and spend that time in their gardens or on their balcony's counting the birds that they can see. It's a beautiful, simple, interesting and useful survey and we know that our wonderful extended Töastie family will want to be a part of this!
You can read how to participate here
. It's wonderfully straightforward, you simply count any groups of birds species you can see (ignoring those in flight) and record them. Best to record in groups of species you can see at any one time to avoid double counting! HOW DOES BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH WORK?
Thanks to all those that participate in the survey, Big Garden Birdwatch with the RSPB
now has over 40 years of data, helping to increase our understanding of the challenges faced by wildlife.
Did you know that in the UK around half of the bird species migrate? Some leave to winter in warmer climates, while others leave colder climates in Europe to winter in the UK. Migratory birds can travel over 12,000 miles on their round trip from the UK; Swifts for example return to British shores in the last week of April to mate, leaving again in the Autumn for sub-Saharan Africa.
It was one of the first surveys to identify the decline of song thrushes in gardens. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979. But by 2019, those numbers had declined by 76% – coming in at number 20. And did you know that house sparrow sightings have dropped by 53% since the first Birdwatch in 1979? However, in the past 10 years their numbers have grown by 10% showing that we are beginning to see some signs of recovery.
Results like these help us spot problems. But, more importantly, they are the first step towards putting things right.
Download our free printable sheet as a guide to knowing the most common birds to be found in your garden - and your littles can enjoy colouring all the lovely birds in after your hour of Big Garden Birdwatching.
" Birds are the most accomplished astronauts the world has ever seen. They fly high and low, at great speed and very slowly. And always with extraordinary precision and control. " ~ David Attenborough