Why does back pain occur?October 30, 2023
THE MISTLETOE MARKETS OF EUROPEOctober 30, 2023
When you look out into your garden at this time of year you undoubtedly spot a robin redbreast – one of the UK’s most iconic birds and one that has become synonymous with Christmas.
But why has it become associated with winter and the festive season even though they are in our outdoor spaces all year round?
This can be partly traced back to the 19th century when the Victorians nicknamed the new postal service, who wore bright red uniforms, the ‘robins’. The tiny bird soon started appearing on greeting cards, wrapping paper, decorations and more.
Even though robins are associated with winter and often depicted in snow covered imagery, this is an incredibly tough time for them.
Harsh winter conditions can be life-threatening to birds who need energy rich foods and places to stay warm and survive. They rely on our help during these freezing months when natural food sources and shelters are scarce. Did you know that robins can use up to 10% of their body weight just by keeping warm each night in the winter?
If you want to see more of these cheery red breasted birds, and other native birds, in your garden throughout winter, here’s what you can do:
- Fill bird feeders or window boxes with food high in fat and protein such as seeds, grain mix and nuts.
- Buy or create your own lard or suet feeder (never oil or cooking fat) with nuts and berries and hang them high on trees or fence posts.
- Install birdboxes in quiet and safe locations.
- Keep fresh water in bird baths and ponds unfrozen.
- Grow fruit trees or shrubs that produce winter berries such as Holly or Pyracantha.
- Plant evergreen trees and shrubs to provide natural shelter.
Another way to treat our winged garden visitors during the winter is by putting Christmas dinner leftovers to good use. According to the RSPB, birds love roast potatoes (minus oil or cooking fat, which can be dangerous), hard cheese, fruit cake, unsalted bacon rind and pastry. Try scattering leftovers on bird tables and enjoy watching them tuck into their festive feast.
Caring for birds in the winter and giving them consistent support will have a positive impact on bird populations within the UK over the long-term.
It is set to be a cold winter so keep doing your bit and giving our feathered friends a helping hand.
Happy gardening and Merry Christmas.