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September’s Tip of the Month



Your borders, baskets and tubs may be needing a replenish ready for the autumn/winter. If they are still looking OK give them that final dead-head and that should buy you a few more weeks. If they’re past that, then pansies and violas are a great source of colour to get you through until spring/summer next year. Heathers, cyclamen and bellis daisies are also good option. Now is the time to start planting up your bulbs for the spring.


It’s time to think about weeding and feeding your lawn and laying any grass seed that maybe be needed. You’ll need to leave a gap between the two though according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


“Although winter feeding benefits birds most, food shortages can occur at any time of the year. By feeding the birds all year round, you’ll give them a better chance to survive the periods of food shortage whenever they may occur” RSPB

Autumn and winter

At this time of year, put out food and water on a regular basis. In severe weather, feed twice daily if you can: in the morning and in the early afternoon.

Birds require high energy (high fat) foods during the cold winter weather to maintain their fat reserves to survive the frosty nights. Use only good quality food and scraps.

Always adjust the quantity given to the demand, and never allow uneaten foods to accumulate around the feeders. Once you establish a feeding routine, try not to change it as the birds will become used to it and time their visits to your garden accordingly.

Spring and summer

Only feed selected foods at this time of year. Good hygiene is vital, or feeding may do more harm than good.

During the summer months, birds require high protein foods, especially while they are moulting.

Black sunflower seeds, pinhead oatmeal, soaked sultanas, raisins and currants, mild grated cheese, mealworms, waxworms, mixes for insectivorous birds, good seed mixtures without loose peanuts, RSPB food bars and summer seed mixture are all good foods to provide. Soft apples and pears cut in half, bananas and grapes are also good. Some people use soaked dog or cat food and tinned pet foods, but these may attract magpies, crows and cats.

Avoid using peanuts, fat and bread at this time, since these can be harmful if adult birds feed them to their nestlings. If you feel you must put out peanuts, only do so in suitable mesh feeders that will not allow sizeable pieces of peanuts to be removed and provide a choking risk.

Home-made fatballs can go soft and rancid in warm summer weather, and should be avoided. Commercially produced fat bars are suitable for summer feeding but discard any remains after three weeks.

Temporary food shortage can occur at almost any time of the year, and if this happens during the breeding season, extra food on your bird table can make a big difference to the survival of young.

Birds time their breeding period to exploit the availability of natural foods: earthworms in the case of blackbirds and song thrushes, and caterpillars in the case of tits and chaffinches. It is now known that if the weather turns cold or wet during spring or summer, severe shortage of insect food can occur, and if the weather is exceptionally dry, earthworms will be unavailable to the ground feeders because of the hard soil.

Advice from RSPB as of 24/11/2014 –

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