Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Big Freeze

First use of our patio set in 2010, by a thrush. The set saw very little use in 2009.

Some advice on looking after birds in the cold spell from this website.

With Ireland in the grip of a severe and prolonged cold spell which is seeing considerable amounts of snow on the ground and temperatures barely rising above freezing, it will be almost impossible for the birds to reach any natural food so expect an increase in activity at your feeders until temperatures start to rise.

During these extreme cold spells don't forget the cold weather drill of fat, splash and shelter:

Fat: Provide additional survival rations in the form of fat products for raw energy to survive the long, cold nights. Simply hang the products up, place them whole or chopped on the ground, or rub them into bark for more retiring species.

Splash: Make sure that there's always clean, fresh water available for drinking and bathing and ensure bird baths are kept clear of ice.

Shelter: Avoid disturbing birds when they are sheltering from the elements. At night time roosts and in 'loafing areas' during the day, the birds are trying to conserve vital energy and avoidable disturbance is a bit like reducing the amount of food available. Nest boxes will often be used as vital, windproof roost sites.

The first and last hour of daylight are particularly important feeding times when it's very cold so the birds should be left to feed up in peace if possible.

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