Help feather some nests

PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

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As the RSPB, bird-watchers and gardeners nationwide gear up for the charity’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch, the organisation is warning that birds that have benefited from a mild autumn will begin to struggle as the weather changes.

Results from the findings of the 2014 event, in which almost half a million people recorded the birds they saw over the two days, revealed some interesting changes among our most popular garden birds, with some species that benefit from a bit of extra help creeping up the rankings.

Blue tits emerged in their highest position since Big Garden Birdwatch began, at number two. The previous occupiers of the second spot, blackbirds, dropped to number four. Goldfinches climbed another place since the previous year and reached number seven while t he robin dropped back to number 10. There was a new entrant to the top 20 - for the first time ever the great spotted woodpecker squeezed in at number 20. As well as asking the public to record their findings - with the help of identification pictures available on the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk - the organisation is also asking people to do their bit to protect our birds through the winter by topping up their bird feeders and providing fresh water and shelter for wildlife in their gardens during the frosty weather.

The nature charity says there are three key things that birds will need this winter: food, unfrozen water and shelter.

RSPB wildlife advisor Richard James says: “People can make a real difference to garden birds and improve their chances of surviving the winter.

“Birds don’t need much and by providing a supply of food, a patch of unfrozen water and somewhere to shelter from the elements, you will be rewarded with great views of wildlife in your back garden.”