A colourful variety of winter garden birds add some interest to the cold winter mornings. Winter is a wonderful season for watching the amazing bird species that will be visiting your garden and foraging for food.
If you provide food, water and shelter for the birds during the lean winter months, you can attract many wonderful species, including resident birds and others who have migrated from continental Europe, Scandinavia and Russia. Read on to find out about the birds that could be gracing your garden during the winter months...
The best-loved and most well-known winter bird, the red-breasted robin has been voted Britain’s National Bird. With the robin’s picture adorning many a Christmas card, it is the traditional symbol of winter and the festive season. The robin is a UK native breeding bird, but in winter others fly in who have migrated from Europe. Robins eat berries, other kinds of fruit and seeds found on shrubs, vines and trees. Their favourite fruits are apples, blueberries, raisins, raspberries, cherries and strawberries.
Native to the UK, the blue tit is easy to recognise thanks to its brightly-coloured plumage including yellow, blue, green and white feathers. Blue tits favour seeds, so if you put mixed bird seed in your garden and place peanuts from hanging feeders, they are quite likely to pay you a visit. They will also eat suet pellets and suet balls. Blue tits are renowned for their intelligence. In times gone by, when more people had bottles of milk delivered to their doorstep by the early-morning milkman, blue tits were well known for learning how to tap through the foil lid to drink the milk.
The bullfinch is a beautiful British bird, with the male in particular displaying a striking hue of bright red, topped with a distinctive black cap. Bullfinches are common visitors to winter gardens and usually congregate in pairs, or in small groups. They enjoy a diet of seeds, but in late winter and early spring, when seeds are less plentiful, they will eat the buds of fruiting trees. They prefer the buds of the flowers to the leaf buds - a sensible choice, as the flowers provide them with better nutrition. They have been studied eating as many as 30 buds per minute!
The redwing originates in Northern Europe, Russia and Iceland and migrates to Britain in winter to escape the freezing weather in its native land. Similar in size to the British blackbird, it is commonly found in mixed species flocks, including fieldfares. Featuring a colourful red flank and light brown stripes above the eyes, the species feeds mainly on fruit trees and various berries.
The long-tailed tit is widespread in the UK every winter and is also a common bird throughout Europe and Asia, migrating to Britain in large flocks that can include other species of tits. Long tailed tits, as you would expect, can be easily spotted as a result of their long, prominent tail. To attract them into your garden, put out plenty of fat balls on your feeding table. They also eat plenty of insects and some seeds in autumn and winter.
The waxwing is one of the most stunning birds that migrates to Britain each winter. A rotund bird with a prominent crest, its main colour is reddish-brown. It can be recognised by the contrasting black mask around the eyes, the yellow and white feathers on its wings and a yellow-tipped tail. Waxwings migrate from Russia's boreal forest regions and they fly to the UK to escape the harsh winters. Their favourite food is berries and in their natural habitat in Russia, their staple diet is rowan berries, which grow in the forests.
It's wonderful to see winter garden birds and they're a welcome addition to our Great British wildlife. However, if you grow your own fruit in the warmer summer months, wild birds might well ruin your crop. Henry Cowls' fruit cages and bird netting is a safe and humane way of protecting your fruit, so you can eat it before the birds do! Please contact us for information on our full range of products.