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Winter migrants to the UK will now start arriving from colder, northern regions. You may see geese and ducks flying over head in large numbers, and you could see redwings, bramblings and fieldfares in your own garden.

November

The berries in your garden will be a feast for birds. Song thrushes and blackbirds will become more noticeable as they venture onto your lawn in search of worms and fallen fruit. Flocks of greenfinches can be a common sight at bird tables, along with chaffinches and sparrows.

Urban gardens will be particularly attractive to birds during the winter because towns and cities tend to be warmer than the countryside. Keep your eyes peeled to spot any rare visitors.

Your bird bath will be an important source of drinking water so make sure yours is topped up and kept free from ice. Don't use anti-freeze or any other chemicals that could harm birds. You can buy special products that will defrost the ice but are perfectly safe for birds. Also, be aware of hygiene and change the water regularly to prevent the spread of disease.

Hang out peanut feeders if you have not previously done so. Bird need extra energy to survive during the colder weather and peanuts are a good source of fat and other nutrients. Ideally you want to hang your bird feeder over a paved or decked area which you can clean of debris regularly to reduce rats ans other vermin scavenging for fallen food.

Make sure your bird table is well stocked too. Put out kitchen scraps, grated cheese, bread crumbs, sultanas, oatmeal, apples, pears and other soft fruit from the garden. Alternatively you can buy ready made seed mixes, fat balls and live meal worms. Hang pieces of unsalted bacon from trees to provide an energy laden treat. The greater the variety of foods you supply, the greater the variety of birds you will see.

If you haven't already done so clean out old nesting boxes and put up new ones to give birds time to get used to them and provide shelter during the winter. Try and position the box in the shade of buildings or trees. If this is not possible then face the box between north and east so it avoids strong sunlight and the coldest, wettest winds.

This is a good time of year to plant shrubs and bushes to give them time to get established before winter sets in. Try roses, brambles, elder and hawthorn to act as a natural food source and if you have a large garden you could plant hazel for its nuts.



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