Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

We have almost arrived at that ‘most wonderful time of the year’, where those most fortunate among us wake up excitedly for an indulgent day of opening gifts and festive feasting. But of course, what we all can hopefully keep in mind is that Christmas is also about the giving, not just the receiving.

Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns have for many caused anxiety and worry, and for some grief and loss – and while it may not be the solution to all of life’s problems, nature has for many of us been a comfort blanket in these troubling times. When we were limited to our gardens or green spaces, and were encouraged to not mix with others, nature took full advantage of the quieter surroundings and gave many of us a picture of wonder. Showing what things are like when our hectic way of life slows down and nature is left alone to prosper, we heard a dawn chorus louder than usual and saw birds which are usually condemned to their usual environments roam freely and explore new areas. It truly was a silver lining on a torrid time which, let us not forget, is ever continuing.  

As we recollect how nature has been there for us over the past year, many of us will want to give a little back – and there are several ways in which we can do this.

One obvious way would be to make sure we leave out essential food and water out for our birds and other wildlife. At this chilly time of year, birds will opt for fatty foods, such as nuts of all sorts, seeds (sunflower, nyjer) and suet. Kitchen scraps are also aplenty at Christmas time, and there are several leftover foods that our feathered friends will appreciate. Cooked rice and potato, broken cake and biscuits, breadcrumbs, uncooked pastry and raw oats will all go down well. Avoid salt in these foods, and do not allow a pile of uneaten, unwanted food to accumulate – it is imperative to keep feeding surfaces and feeders clean. Different to humans, birds are less picky in terms of where they choose to go to the loo – and droppings on eating surfaces can cause deadly salmonella. Clean water is also highly important at this time of year, to wash their feathers and quash their thirst.

Another way of giving back to nature would be to treat yourself or a family member to joining another family, the RSPB family! By joining us as a member, you will be contributing to our day-to-day conservation work, ensuring that the nature on our doorstep has a fighting chance in these uncertain times. In a season of gifts exchanging hands, another way would be to purchase a product from our shop, which also supports nature conservation – a feeder, or even some bird food as mentioned above makes a wonderful gift and can potentially open the door to the fascinating world of nature for someone for the first time. Even the smallest gift makes a difference - our pin badges are popular at all times of the year, yet this Christmas, we’ll have a special Giving Nature a Home Robin badge to celebrate our work in giving nature a home in villages, towns and cities across Wales. Remember to #ShareHowYouWear on social media (@RSPBCymru) when you pin it on your coat when walking off that lunch!

Of course, time can be just as invaluable a currency as the coin. Perhaps you would be ready to start 2021 with a bang, giving back to nature through volunteering with us when things start to get back to normal. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, get in touch with your local reserve or Giving Nature a Home project and see where you can help us out. We are thoroughly proud of our volunteers who give so much of their time and efforts to saving nature, and if you feel inspired to do the same next year, then get in touch with us.

The above are only a handful of suggestions of how you can give back to nature over the festive period. However you choose to do so, we hope you will stay safe and join us again in 2021 as we look to continue with our work in protecting our wildlife, and bringing people closer to nature.

Nadolig Llawen, everyone.