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The Lean Mean Months of Winter

An Article by Mike Stentiford, MBE


AT the end of each January, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds holds one of its biggest and most popular events of the year – The Big Garden Birdwatch.



Supported by tens of thousands of keen birdwatchers-come-wildlife gardeners – 280,000 last year alone - the event amasses a huge amount of data on the highs and lows of our favourite garden birds.

During the last 30 years since the event started, for instance, the humble house sparrow and the once dominant starling have both sadly seen their populations tumble.

On the other hand, by steadily climbing the ladder of success, the chaffinch and the great tit have each celebrated a healthy increase in numbers

In addition to all this highly important data-gathering, the feel-good factor of taking part is becoming increasingly evident year upon year.

Of course, there would be little success to any garden birdwatch if there was nothing of edible interest to tempt the feathered treasures into our gardens with in the first place.

Being a concerned enthusiast obviously ensures that seeds and nuts aplenty are there to attract and help garden birds at this particularly critical time of year.

Indeed, it’s been proved time and again that a good all-round selection of mixed seeds allied to protein-rich peanuts and fat-balls offer the very best of life-lines to birds when they most need it.

In this respect, the next three months of deep winter should provide us with a golden opportunity of doing something really positive for nature – and birds in particular!

It is precisely at this time of year when just about every natural edible goodie in the countryside makes a sharp exit, a situation that leaves most birds and mammals in a pretty lean and hungry state.

Where better place for them to find salvation than in a well-stocked wildlife garden where a fine selection of protein awaits their daily pleasure!

Should you be ready and waiting to take part in the garden birdwatch on the weekend of January 29/30, then I wish you a highly successful tally.

If you’re not participating in the event, then do please still offer a little seedy kindness to your garden visitors – it’s a joyful experience I promise you! 

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