Wintertime is very difficult for birds, especially the further north that they live because the weather gets considerably colder and harsher. The ground often freezes preventing them form accessing the nutritious worms. The insects are hibernating and most hedgerows and trees are dormant for the cold winter months. Birds can find it difficult to find enough food or even a drink, especially if the winter has brought snow.
Lots of people help the birds by throwing out stale bread for them to eat. Although this does elevate the birds hunger, bread isn't a very nutritious food source.
Most garden bird’s staple diet is usually, fruit and berries, nuts and seeds, insects, worms and grubs, Very tasty.
To really help the bird out this winter you could string p some monkey nuts. Buy some peanuts in their shells and thread a sharp wool needle with a length of wool with a knot in the end of it. Push the needle through the middle of the peanut shell and out of the other side, it's a bit like threading beads. Thread on more monkey nuts in this way until the wool is almost full. Unthread the needle, make a loop in the wool that is left and tie a knot to keep the nuts and the loop in place. Use the loop to hang the nuts from the bird-table or tree.
You could also make a tasty bird-cake...
Add to a bowl some chopped up bacon rind, leftover chicken bits from Sunday dinner, a few peanuts, a few raisins and frozen peas, some shelled sunflower seeds if you have any, some diced apple and a couple of heaped table spoons of flour and mix well. Add some water and mix to create dough.
Mold into a ball shape and leave it over night on the kitchen windowsill to dry. By morning it will be hard and ready to leave out on a bird table or lawn for the birds to peck at.
It's just as important the water is left out as well as food. In the winter, water turns to ice and the birds do not have access to drinking water. Leave a dish with fresh water in it out in your garden for the birds, and check it on really cold mornings to make sure it hasn't turned to ice.
Some of the UK’s bird population are becoming endangered, this means that their population numbers are falling. Organisations like the RSPB do valuable work to protect and monitor endangered breeds of bird. You could monitor the birds yourself during the winter months, spend an hour each day for a week recording all the birds that visit your garden or bird-table. Bird watching is also known as twitching.
There is a chart on the website, a list of UK winter birds that you may see. Each bird has an illustration to help you to identify which breed it is, and there is some information about each birds preferred habitat. Some birds are residents of the UK, which means they like here all year round, others just visit for the winter.
Some birds on the list are endangered, so some of the birds are rarer than others; but you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them. Maybe you could tempt them into your garden with a bit of tasty bird-cake.