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During October starlings will begin to gather in large groups on treetops and telephone wires before joining up with others to roost in woodland. You may be lucky enough to see huge numbers flying in beautiful formations across the sky called a murmuration.

October

Winter migrants such as redwings, bramblings and fieldfares will start to return and if you have left seedheads from the summer then you should also see finches in your garden. You may even spot a jay burying acorns for winter in an underground store.

Although a bird friendly garden is likely to be full of seeds, berries and nuts at this time of year it will do no harm for you to start putting out extra food on your bird table and making sure your feeders are full.

The breeding season is over so you can offer all types of food to birds including chunks of bread and peanuts. As the days get colder birds will need more energy so add some fat balls, suet and unsalted bacon to their food.

Check your bird table for splinters and loose joints. Tighten screws and give it a thorough clean - it should get a lot of use over the next few months.

Remove old nests from bird boxes and use boiling water to kill any fleas and parasites that could harm baby birds the following year. If you do find any unhatched eggs these must be disposed of as it is illegal to keep birds' eggs.

Place a small handful of clean hay or wood shavings in the nest box once it is thoroughly dry so that it can be used by birds for roosting and shelter during the winter.

Keep bird baths topped up and if you haven't done so yet give them a good clean before the winter months to remove any algae that may have built up over the summer.

Leave a pile of dead leaves in your garden. This will attract insects for ground-feeding birds to eat and will also provide shelter for other wildlife.


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