Christmas presents for every type of bird lover
Twitchers, bird watchers or bird lovers - they can be your parent, grandparent, partner or friend! There are different presents for every sort of bird lover.... here are some ideas of what to choose from Boxwild this Christmas
From a Bird gift for an in-law to a thank you present for a teacher - we have it covered!
1. Gift for a bird watcher - a twitcher is someone who mad about birds, they probably have all the bird feeders and binoculars you could need so we would suggest the Seed Subscription Box which contains various packs of our seed blends & will offer something different which their birds won't have tried before!
2. Thank you Gift for an eco loving teacher - depending on budget, a nice bag of our Boxwild seed blend with a seed scoop tends to go down very well.
3. Gift for bird-loving in-laws - often the tough present to buy off the list! Our Bird Feeder Gift box is our most popular item and makes a thoughtful present.
4. Wildlife lover- for someone who is into all types of wildlife, not just birds, then our Wildlife Subscription Box is the perfect option. Each quarter we send a variety of bird and wildlife goodies to attract nature into the garden.
5 Ways to Help Your Garden Birds Over Winter
From December to February natural bird food is scarce. Hard or snow-covered ground can make the usual food inaccessible to birds. This is a time when garden birds could certainly use a helping hand. Birds that manage to maintain sufficient fat stores over winter are more likely to be healthier come the spring breeding season. This means a greater number of healthy chicks being born.
Here are five ways you can help the birds in your garden during the cold winter months:
Clean Out Nest Boxes
Birds survive the colder winter months in a number of ways. Some fluff out their feathers to provide better insulation. Some birds go into a torpor, a state of reduced heart rate and body temperature that allows them to burn fewer calories. Other birds survive the coldest snaps by roosting in nest boxes. To create shelter for your garden birds, clean out nest boxes at the end of the breeding season, leaving them vacant and ready for winter visitors.
Provide Hedgerow Shelter
Some birds prefer to spend winter roosting together in hedgerows. If you have the garden space, plan ahead and do some planting. Dense privet or hawthorn hedges are a great roosting venue for garden birds. Equally, ivy and holly also provide excellent cover.
Provide More Feeders
Providing more feeders over winter makes life easier for your birds and for you – you don’t have to venture out into howling winds and driving rain to top up your feeder on a regular basis. Birds will also be able to find the food they need at this time of increased demand. Fill your feeders with winter bird seed that’s high in calories and nutrients.
Leave out Fatty Foods
Birds really enjoy fatty foods during winter months. The extra fat is nutritious and filling. It helps birds to build up their own fat reserves and gives them a big energy boost. Fat balls are the perfect option, we have a range of fat balls and high fat foods in our Fatty Box.
Create an Unfrozen Water Source
Birds don’t just struggle to find food in winter. Finding water can also be a problem as many water sources freeze in very cold weather. Check on your bird bath every day to make sure it hasn’t frozen over. If you want to go the extra mile you could invest in a solar heated birdbath that will provide unfrozen water whatever the weather.
Provide bird food, water and shelter all year round to encourage birds to your garden. But, come winter, it’s a good idea to take a little extra care of your garden visitors. The provisions you provide will stand them in good stead for surviving the colder months.
You might also like to look at our article: endangered birds and how to help them
- Nikki Boxwild
- Tags: looking after birds in winter
Latest coverage for our gifts for bird lovers
Boxwild has been very fortunate to feature in many magazines, newspapers and blogs lately. Our boxes have featured as a gifts for bird lovers, gifts for hedgehog lovers and ideas for gardeners!
Just some of the articles:
Garden's Illustrated - October 2017 issue- News section with our Hedgehog Gift Box
Country Living - August 2017 with our Hedgehog Gift Box:
Mirror - in September 2017 who featured our Children's Big Bird Gift Box
Your Home - October 2017 issue - with our Hedgehog Gift Box
Midwife and Life blog August 2017 - Gifts for budding bird lovers
Five Little Doves blog August 2017 - Learning about wildlife with boxwild http://fivelittledoves.com/reviews/learning-wildlife-boxwild/
If you are doing an article on gifts for bird lovers please just drop Ben a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nikki Boxwild
- Tags: gift for bird lover
How to Keep Your Garden Birds Healthy
When your garden is a bird haven offering plenty of food and water, you’re doing your garden birds a big favour. They can supplement their diet during summer months and find the food they so desperately need throughout winter. However, any place that many birds congregate is a place where avian disease can spread.
Here are some ways you can limit the spread of illness and keep your garden birds healthy:
Manage the Food Supply
If your bird food is sitting on the bird table uneaten for days on end, that’s plenty of time for it to become rotten or mouldy. Put out less food at a time to make sure everything is eaten when it’s at its best.
Don’t Leave Food on the Ground
Some birds don’t like to eat from a bird table or hanging feeder. But food left directly on the ground can attract vermin like rats. Rats carry diseases that can affect both birds and humans. To avoid this health risk, use a ground tray for your bird food. That way you can take it away at the end of the day and keep it properly clean.
Clean Bird Feeding Equipment
Bird feeders, tables, baths and nest boxes can harbour parasites that cause disease. Bird droppings can also breed harmful bacteria. You should regularly clean and disinfect all of your bird care equipment. Leave everything to dry fully before putting it back in your garden. When it comes to a nest box, you have to be sure that no nesting birds are currently in residence before removing and cleaning it.
Move Feeders and Tables
Bird droppings can accumulate underneath hanging bird feeders and bird tables. Regularly move them around your garden so you don’t end up with a large, bacteria-breeding collection of faeces in the one place.
Look out for Sick Birds
If you find a dead bird or notice a sick bird in your garden, stop putting out bird food immediately. Clean and disinfect all feeders, tables, bird baths and (if the season allows) nest boxes. Once you stop seeing dead or sick birds, you can put the clean equipment back into your garden. This will help to prevent the spread of disease to your other garden birds.
Maintaining good hygiene of your garden and bird care equipment is essential. By following a few simple rules, you can ensure the health and happiness of your avian garden guests.
You might also be interested in our post on Tips to attract more birds to your feeder or one on Endangered Garden Birds and what you can do to help.
How the Robin Became a Symbol of Christmas
To celebrate the launch of our Robin Gift Box, we have put together an article on our favourite festive friend!
The robin is one of the most common and best-loved garden birds in the UK. Contrary to popular belief, both males and females sport the characteristic red breast, although young robins only develop the colouring as they get older. Robins sing all year round, working to defend their territory (which they do fiercely) and to attract a mate. Making their homes in woodland, parks, hedgerows and many a garden, robins can be spotted during every month of the year.
So, if we’re as likely to see a robin in summer as we are in winter, how did the bird come to be a symbol of Christmas? There are countless robin gifts, cards, decorations and even Christmas jumpers and the festive season doesn’t feel like it’s started until we see a red breasted robin in the garden. There are a number of theories as to why.
Some fables link the robin to Christianity. The story goes that the robin was once a plain, brown bird. The bird went to sing to Jesus who was dying on the cross. Blood from Jesus’ wounds then stained the breast of the bird and from that moment on, the robin passed its red breast down through the generations.
Another legend places the robin at the birth of Jesus. On a chilly night in Bethlehem, a brown bird fanned the flames of a fire to keep the baby Jesus warm. Scorched by the fire, the breast of the bird turned red forever more.
However, it seems like the real reason for the robin’s association with Christmas can be traced back to Victorian times. Victorian postmen wore red coats. When Christmas card giving became popular in the mid-19th century, these “red breasted robins” could be seen going about the streets delivering festive well-wishes. Robins soon came to be featured on the Christmas cards themselves, often with a letter in their mouths, as a representation of the postmen who delivered them.
Whatever the truth behind the legend of the Christmas robin, the bird is a welcome sight in our gardens at any time of year. The species is thriving, with a 45% increase in the robin population recorded since 1970.
This is good to see as the robin experiences a high mortality rate. Many don’t make it through the winter due to a scarcity of food. A garden supply of winter bird feed can really help the robin to survive a particularly cold spell of weather. With some fatty and calorific seed mix on offer, those red breasted robins will be regular garden visitors throughout the festive season.
Love Robins? Check out our Robin Bird Seed here in our Winter Bird Seed Box
How to Identify Wild Birds
You don’t have to know the names of the birds that visit your garden. Seeing them there can be enjoyment enough. However, knowing the names of the species you see gives you the opportunity to learn a little more about them. It can also help you to provide the food and habitats your feathered friends like best.
Here are some handy tips for identifying wild birds in your garden:
Note Down Characteristics
Birds aren’t likely to stay put whilst you give them a thorough examination. You need to make a note of key characteristics before a bird disappears from view. Size, shape and colouring are all important features that can help you to distinguish one bird from another. The shape of the bill and legs are particularly useful. Birds of prey have hooked bills whilst seed-eaters tend to have short, stout bills. And webbed feet is another big giveaway.
Search Online or in A Book
Nowadays, searching for a bird online is the easiest way to make an accurate identification. There are databases that allow you to type in the features you have recorded and find a shortlist of potential matches. But doing things the old-fashioned way still holds its charm. A good bird guide is an essential piece of kit for any would-be bird spotter.
Watch Out for Red Herrings
There are plenty of bird features that could lead to a misidentification. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Young or female birds sometimes have different colouring to male birds of the same species.
- It’s very difficult to make an accurate assessment of a bird’s size when it’s in the air.
- In cold weather birds can fluff out their feathers for warmth making them look very different to the standard images you’ll find online or in books.
- Captive birds sometimes escape. If you spot an exotic bird it could be that this isn’t something you usually find in the wild.
Being able to identify birds successfully is a learning process. The more birds you see and correctly identify, the easier it will be to identify future unknowns. You could visit a bird sanctuary or nature reserve to get to know different bird varieties. This will help with identification back at home in the garden.
Identifying the birds you see in your garden is a great activity to share with children. But it can be a fun undertaking whatever your age. With a few items of basic kit you could soon be recognising your birds and adapting your garden to better meet their needs.