Wildlife in September-October

Say hello to autumn and a change of activity in your garden!

This time of year is fantastic for watching birds and all kinds of wildlife as everything is busy and out and about. See small mammals making the most of acorns, berries and other fresh food sources, and look out for new birds arriving from the south.

We bid farewell to summer as our swallows, swifts, chiffchaffs and cuckoos depart for warmer climes. Some birds will fly as far as Sub-Saharan Africa – 9,000 miles away! Here they will feast on an abundance of insects and other foods until they return in spring.

With the cold snap comes an influx of birds from Scandinavia, Russia and North-Eastern Europe: look out for redwing, fieldfare and bramblings which come across the North Sea to escape the coming chill. During particularly cold winters you might see highly decorative waxwings as they travel in bright chattering flocks and feast on berries. However, siskins, nuthatches and coal tits may be more common in your gardens, with fieldfare and redwing preferring to feed in the open countryside.

Birds are developing their winter coats which can contain up to 70% more feathers than their summer plumage. This can be a tricky time for birds as this process consumes a lot of energy. You can help by putting out a range of foods in your garden.

Protein and fat-rich food sources for birds:

Sunflower hearts

Wild Bird Peanuts

Suet fat balls

Suet blocks

Coconut suet halves

What to do in the garden:

  • Start a compost heap
  • Net your pond to avoid getting clogged with autumn leaves
  • Cover vegetables with bird-proof netting
  • Plant spring bulbs

Redwing in autumn

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