Animals, Bird Baths, Charlie, How To, Water Features, Wildlife

Winter can ruffle a few feathers for birds.
Winter can ruffle a few feathers for birds.

For wild birds in particular, winter can be a harsh time of year. As they are unable to hibernate like many other species, the ones that don’t migrate to warmer climes have to fend for themselves during the cold winter days and nights. As the temperature plummets, the sparsity of food can lead to their fat reserves being depleted, and ice can freeze over bird baths, leaving even water hard to find. For these reasons quite a few birds will disappear from your garden completely during the winter – these include house martins, swallows and varieties of warbler. Conversely, such are the patterns of migrating birds, that some will make an appearance only for winter – coming from colder climates such as Scandinavia. These include waxwings, bramblings and redwings. But whether the species of bird in your garden are winter visitors or year-round residents, there are things you can do to ensure that they survive the cold.

Bird Baths

Winter bird bath.
Note: Do not let this happen to your birdbath!

One thing you can do is set up a bird bath in your garden, if you haven’t already. Primrose has a huge range of bird baths, from simple bowls to elaborate fountains. Bird baths not only provide water for birds, but also give you a chance to see your feathered friends in all their glory, as they provides a natural gathering point for birds. Remember to break any ice and clear away any snow that forms over the birdbath during cold snaps, as this happening will leave birds unable to drink. Alternatively, you could place a small, light float in the water to prevent your bird bath from freezing over completely should the cold strike, or pour warm water over the birdbath. Whatever you do, it is important never to add any chemicals, even something as innocuous as salt could have adverse effects on the birds themselves. However, in both summer and winter it is a good idea to clean out and replace the water in your birdbath regularly to prevent disease.

Feeding Stations

Bird Cakes, as shown in this feeding station, are a great idea for birds in the winter.
Bird Cakes, as shown in this feeding station, are a great idea for birds in the winter.

As well as water, another thing birds need is food – this is especially true during the winter months as there is less natural food is available. This is where a good bird table or feeder can come in handy! It is best to locate them at an altitude, so groundlings cannot steal the bird food, and to keep the birds’ feeding area out of reach of predators. Stock it up with high protein seeds, but more importantly many birds’ fat reserves get depleted during winter so using fat cuttings or lard from the kitchen to create a “bird cake”, by cooking the fat or lard and then mixing it in with the seeds. This will create a fattening snack for birds to peck at, which can then be hung on trees or placed on a feeding station, or perhaps both. It is actually quite important to vary the way in which you distribute the food around the garden, as some birds are more comfortable using a hanging bird feeder, while others much prefer a flat surface upon which to graze. Like with birdbaths, hygiene can be important with your feeding stations too. Make sure that food stayed in the feeder, and clean up any crumbs or droppings that pile up at the bottom, as these can attract pests. Also be sure to clean up uneaten food, as this can create disease.

Shelter and Safety

Shelter from the elements and protection from predators are also important components of bird care in the winter. Having a prickly bush near your birdbaths or bird feeder will give your birds not only shelter from the elements but also somewhere to hide in case of predators, have too many shrubs, however, and this could provide a spot to predators to stalk their prey – for this reason it might be best to place these items out in the open. You might also want to invest in, or perhaps build, a roosting station for your birds to provide an especially safe place for them. To help ward off the birds’ most common predator, you could also invest in a cat scarer, to help keep your bird baths and feeding stations safe and clear from these animals. Or if you own a cat – put a bell on it. Birds will only settle into a routine of feeding at a particular spot once they are sure that spot is safe, so its important to try and keep it clear of predators.

Follow this advice and you’re sure to give our feathered friends a helping hand in making it through to the spring.

CharlieCharlie works in the Primrose marketing team, mainly on online marketing.

When not writing for the Primrose Blog, Charlie likes nothing more than a good book and a cool cider.

To see the rest of Charlie’s posts, click here.

Awnings, Barbecues, Bird Baths, Cat, Celebrations And Holidays, Decoration, Easter, Garden Furniture, Gardening, Greenhouses, Lighting, Marquees, Outdoor Heating, Planters, Sail Shades, Water Features

Happy Easter from Primrose!

Whether you’re celebrating with family or just relaxing, we hope you’ll have a fantastic time this Easter holiday.

If you’re looking for a day out this Easter and are local to the Henley-on-Thames area, we’d love to see you stop by our new concession area at Toad Hall garden centre. We’ve also got a voucher for a free tea or coffee on us. Read more about it in our blogpost.

Still missing some essential items to make your garden look as beautiful as it deserves to be? Take a look at our popular categories below to get it delivered for next weekend which is looking to be a hot one!

Over 270 GreenhousesOver 2500 PlantsOver 1100 Planters
Over 640 AwningsOver 135 BarbecuesOver 1300 Garden Furniture items
Over 180 Shade SailsOver 200 Outdoor HeatersOver 900 Water Features
Over 160 Garden LightsOver 250 Garden Hand ToolsOver 25 Marquees

Win a Cadac Gas BBQ worth £450!

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

Bird Baths, Cat, Christmas, Clocks, Garden Furniture, Greenhouses, Heated Clothing, Lighting, Outdoor Heating, Planters, Sail Shades, Water Features

Order from Primrose by 20th Dec

No need to fret if you’ve not finished your Christmas shopping yet as there’s still time to find a great gift from our huge range of gifts designed not just for gardeners!

Our last guaranteed shipping date for Christmas delivery is Friday the 20th of December if you order by 3pm.

Get £5 off when you spend £50 or more. Simply enter code DEC135 at the checkout. Valid until 20/12/2013.

Feefo Independent Reviews for Primrose

Well made, easy to use.

 

Electronic Hand Warmer from PrimroseOur Warmawear™ 3 in 1 hand warmer is one of the most versatile gifts we have and perfect as a stocking filler. It has three functions in one:

  • Hand warmer with two heat settings that can reach up to 55°C.
  • Torch so you can find your way home easily at night.
  • Phone charger to make sure you can charge your phone, e-reader, or tablet even if you’re not near a mains socket.

Not sure what to use the £5 voucher on? Take a look at our popular categories:

Electric Candles at Primrose

Garden Furniture at Primrose

Garden Lights at Primrose

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Greenhouses at Primrose

Heated Clothing at Primrose

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Top 30 Primrose Christmas Gifts

Personalised Christmas Gifts from Primrose

Awnings, Bird Baths, Cat, Flowers, Garden Furniture, Gardening, How To, Water Features

Primrose Frost Protection

You’ve enjoyed your awningsgarden furniture and water features all summer, but now it’s time to protect them from the winter and the frost. We’ve got the solution for you!

Primrose Fountain Frost-Free Take our Fountain Frost-Free for example: Developed exclusively for Primrose, it is a safe, environmentally friendly way to protect your water feature, birdbath, pond and pump from freezing in temperatures to -6 degrees without compromising the safety of your children and pets. And when it’s really cold just use a water features cover!

For your plants, take a look at our range of over 30 frost protection items which includes fleece covers, warming cables and cloches.

Garden Furniture Covers at Primrose

Or our huge range of over 150 garden furniture covers which start from just £4.95, contain waterproof finishing and can be easily stored in their packaging when not in use.

Awning Storage Bags at Primrose

Our awning storage bags are made from waterproof, rot-proof polyester and is easy to sponge clean. Simply place the storage bag over the retracted awning and tie up at the back using the attached tie cords.

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.