1. Give spades, forks and other tools will a wash and be sure to dry them thoroughly to prevent rust.
2. Check your garden fences and sheds for rot and signs of weakness and make any repairs before the poor weather arrives
3. Net your ponds to prevent leaves turning the water foul; spread a mesh net over the pond and hold it down with bricks
4. Start a compost bin as there will be many leaves to dispose of from Autumn and be sure to stir the heap to help the composting process
5. Prune summer flowering shrubs and dead-head autumn flowering plants
6. Cover root vegetables with straw or leaves (about 15cm) so that they can be harvested throughout winter
7. When there's snow, cover root vegetables with a piece of old carpet and shake snow from the branches of trees, shrubs and hedges to stop it causing damage due to weight
8. Avoid walking on snow-covered grass as it can cause damage
9. Offer high energy winter foods such as black oil sunflower seeds, suet and peanuts for your birds this winter
10. Clean your bird tables and feeders thoroughly and be sure to keep change water in baths frequently
19/10/2016 - How to best prepare your bird tables and water baths for winter
This winter you will probably notice many birds in your garden, seeking refuge from the harsh weather conditions. Snow and ice hide natural food sources from birds so by providing food in your garden regularly, you are likely to have an increase of regular visitors. Be sure to keep bird feeders, tables and water baths clean to help to prevent bird diseases this winter.
To prepare for winter birds:
- Clean and repair all bird feeders and water baths
- Add covers to your feeders to prevent seeds from drying and to protect your feeder from ice and snow
- Offer high energy winter foods such as black oil sunflower seeds, suet and peanuts
- Consider installing a baffle on each feeder to deter squirrels
- Change water in baths frequently
- Place a ping pong ball, tennis ball or cork into your bird bath to help to prevent it from freezing over
- Give your feathered friends some peace and deter cats from your garden using CATWatch
10/10/2016 - How to attract feathered friends to your garden
Feed them right
Bird seed mixes - Higher quality mixes have a higher proportion of nuts and seeds, rather than cereals, and smaller seed mixes are ideal for attracting smaller birds such as finches, house sparrows, dunnocks etc.
Black sunflower seeds - This high energy food source is a favourite of greenfinches and tits.
Peanuts - Good quality peanuts are great for attracting tits, woodpeckers, finches, sparrows etc - remember that mixes that contain whole nuts are only suitable for the winter.
Fat balls / Fat cakes - Perfect for winter, you can use scraps such as porridge oats and cheese mixed with melted lard or suet.
Pick the right plants
Having trees in the garden is a sure way to attract birds, especially fruit trees, but shrubs and hedges are good alternatives. Shrubs that provide fruits, berries and seeds are great for birds to feed on and leaves on bushes catch water for birds to drink from. Many birds will happily nest in dense shrubs as they provide shelter and shade.
Deter the hunters
Cats and renowned for hunting and killing our garden birds. Try to deter cats from your garden by planting herbs such as lavender and rosemary, that are known to often deter cats, and install flexible garden fence and wall strips to prevent cats from climbing your walls and fences. One of the most effective methods which will prevent cats from entering your garden is using Ultrasonic Cat Deterrents such as CATWatch; the RSPB approved ultrasonic cat deterrent to keep cats away from the garden.
Foxes are also known to hunt and kill birds and they will be attracted to your fruit hedges and trees. Make sure that your fencing has no holes and that there is as limited access as possible for foxes to enter your garden. FOXWatch can also be used, an effective Ultrasonic deterrent that will rid your garden of foxes.
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