Are you in tune with your garden birds ?

We are wintering this year with my father-in-law in England, and he has a lovely garden: Front back and sides ! Now if you have been reading my other posts you will know that The Garden is one of my favourite parts of any abode … and spending time in an English Winter Garden is something I have never done before … So I am Loving It !

Yes its cold, but not as cold as it could be, in fact I believe we are having what is commonly known as a mild Winter. Never the less there are a few things that desperately need attended in an English Garden at this time of year. One of the most important being feeding the garden birds.


Although there is little to do in the way of actually gardening, if you want the birds to keep busy de-pesting your plants over the caterpillar mayhem season, you need to feed them through winter. That way they see your garden as a constant source of food, or so I have read !

This is now a perfect excuse to get to know the beautiful winged wonders. And yes, my father in law is more than happy with the endeavour. He has in fact been tending his garden birds for a number of years, so our added interest in the matter was well received.

First things first. A Bird table ! After some research I settled on one from Amazon. It stakes in the ground down about a meter, which makes it much more wind resistant than those on a base. I then purchased all the recommended bird feed. And while doing so learned that you can attract any type of bird that is resident in your area, simple by offering their favourite food in your bird feeders !


We chose to feed the sparrows, robin, blackbirds, song thrush, and all the other small common but colourful little beauties … So there are now suet balls, mixed bird seed, any spare bread, and of course peanuts for the ever entertaining Squirrel! We also bought a Blackbird caller for my father in laws Christmas, which did actually seem to work. After whistling through it most mornings, the Blackbird is now a much more frequent visitor.

Most of the UK garden bird feed suppliers seem to be quite anti squirrel. I can understand as in the past it was threatening our own native Red Squirrel. But as far as I can tell, in these later years the red and grey seem to be actually cross breading … Not sure how we can regulate that …


Anyway, our lovely squirrel is doing no real damage, and is happy as a sand puppy, as he (or she) vaults up the pole to get his share of the feast we lay out.

One bird I don’t see here are crows. At home in Scotland there are murders of them. Beautiful, wonderfully intelligent birds, but seem as a pest to some gamekeepers. (I am sure the feeling is quite mutual from the crows point on view.)

So, here we are all cosy, tucked up in a corner of England. Keeping the gardens summer guard happily fed during the lean season. And just as well, as I hear that at last Snow is on the way !

Red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris in winter pine forest, Cairngorms NP, Scotland.


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