I have always been an advocate of feeding birds wherever and whenever possible, especially in winter. It is cheap and easy, and fills your garden with wildlife (though maybe I have a self-centred reason for doing this, as I like to sit in front of my window and paint whatever I can see in the garden – painting empty hedgerows is really quite dull). So, I just wanted to post a link to this really interesting article, which explores the pros and cons of winter bird feeding, and also offers some solutions against the ‘cons’, e.g. thinking carefully through the placement of food to encourage safe nesting, watching out for high fat and salt content in store-bought birdfeed, or participating in public research schemes like (to use the article’s example) FeederWatch.
FeederWatch is to record garden birds in North America – a British version can be found on the RSPB website in the form of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which takes place on the 24th-25th January 2015. It’s a great way to contribute to conservation projects and only asks for a couple of days – you can find some really useful resources, such as pictures for identifying birds by both sight and audio files of their various calls and songs. Placing food out in the garden in the run-up to such an event is a really good way to attract birds to your area, so that you can get a good idea of the kinds of birds living there. I’m sure I’ll be writing much more about garden birds now that the Birdwatch is only a couple of weeks away, but for now you can read all about the project on the RSPB website: