Is it teething time for your little one?
Your garden birds need little TLC this winter

As the weather gets colder, it's important to remember the little birds that pop into our gardens to feed during the winter. With dropping temperatures and plants and berries out of season in the winter, it becomes more difficult for them to keep themselves fed and be ready for spring.

The Irish Garden Bird Survey is Birdwatch Ireland's most famous citizen science survey. Now in its 32nd year, the survey is a strong winter tradition in many households across the country. Information gathered will help provide Birdwatch Ireland with vital information on how our garden and countryside bird populations are faring during the harsh winter months each year.

It is open to everyone and begins on Monday 30th November 2020 and runs until February 2021.

Take part here! and #IrishGardenBirdSurvey on any pictures you manage to snap of your garden visitors!

To mark their continued sponsorship of the annual, BirdWatch Ireland Garden Bird Survey, Ballymaloe Foods have shared how to make your own DIY Winter Jar Bird Feeder as well as some tips we can all easily do to make winter easy for birds; Keep your beloved garden birds fed over the harsh winter months in just six easy steps! A cute and easy craft to try out with the kids!

  • Put out food & water between November and March. During these months, natural food sources (fruit, berries, nuts & seeds) are no longer available.
  • A diversity of foods will allow you to help a diversity of species. High-calorie foods like fat balls, suet blocks, peanuts, and sunflower seeds are all great.
  • One of the essential things during cold weather is to put out fresh water. The icy conditions mean natural water sources might be frozen over, so your birds will need somewhere to drink and wash.

Six easy steps to transform your Ballymaloe Relish Jar into a perfect DIY Winter Bird Feeder:

  • Make sure the glass jar is empty and washed.
  • Place two pieces of string or rope on a flat surface.
  • Place a wooden spoon on top of the string/rope.
  • Place a glass jar on its side on top of the wooden spoon so the pieces of string/cord are at the top and bottom of the pot.
  • Wrap the string/rope around the spoon and jar and secure it to a sheltered branch.
  • Fill the jar with birdseed

Yasmin Hyde of Ballymaloe Foods has been using mason jars for years to keep her own garden birds fed. She says "From an early age I have been aware of the importance of extra feeding to help birds and wildlife prepare for spring. My father, Ivan Allen, was a great lover of flora and fauna, especially birdlife. As farming practices were modernised on Ballymaloe Farm, we have continued his work to ensure the wildlife on the land were protected.

“When birds have access to more nutrients in winter, the spring mating season will be more successful. Chicks will have healthier weights, and egg-laying will happen earlier. Ballymaloe Foods are sponsoring this year's BirdWatch Ireland Irish Garden Bird Survey, and it seemed like a great idea to upcycle our relish jars to help further our wild birds thrive during these cold months."

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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