Mild weather is to blame for lack of birds in Norfolk gardens

 It's all action at the bird feeder as a Great Tit prepares to land it frightens the more timid Long

It's all action at the bird feeder as a Great Tit prepares to land it frightens the more timid Long Tailed Tit away. - Credit: citizenside.com

A charity with the protection of birds at its heart is reassuring nature lovers in Norfolk that despite a drop in numbers the gardener's best friend will be making a return.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has received an increase in calls from worried people over concerns about the lack of birds in their gardens.

Now the national charity is reassuring people and explained that this behaviour was down to Norfolk's mild weather for the time of year.

Richard James, RSPB wildlife adviser, said: 'We are receiving endless calls from people who are worried that they are somehow responsible for the lack of garden birds at the moment. The answer is almost certainly down to the unusually mild weather we're experiencing at the moment.

'Birds will still be able to get hold of natural food in the wider countryside so haven't had to call upon us humans for help just yet. But that could all change very quickly if the weather turns and temperatures drop.'


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The charity is urging people to fill up their bird feeders and tables with lots of high energy foods as the cold weather arrives.

Rachael Murray, RSPB's communications officer for the east, said: 'Up to now, natural food sources have been readily available and water has been easy to come by. But with temperatures falling, birds will need all the help they can get to survive the winter.'

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People are being advised to put out calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed, fatballs, suet sprinkles, sunflower seed and good-quality peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps, like mild grated cheese, cooked rice and porridge oats.

Water is also essential for drinking, bathing and preening and the most effective way to keep it from freezing is to place in a lightweight ball - such as a ping-pong ball - which can be easily moved by a gentle breeze, keeping a small amount of water ice-free.

And highlighted the dangers of cooked turkey fat the charity is urging people to not put the leftover contents of a roast dinner outside if it contains cooking juices from meats or turkey.

Richard James, RSPB wildlife adviser, said: 'This is a completely different kind of fat and could have catastrophic effects. Only pure fats such as lard and suet should be used to make homemade fat balls.'

The RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch will also be making a return on January 25 and 26.

The world's biggest wildlife survey gives people across the country the chance spend just one hour at any time over that weekend to note the highest number of each bird species seen in their gardens or local park at any one time. They can then submit their results to the RSPB.

• For more information visit rspb.org.uk.

• Do you have a unique way of attracting wildlife into your garden? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk.

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