Autumn lockdown 

With the introduction of a second lockdown, the RSPB resurrected #BreakfastBirdwatch 8-9am weekday mornings where we can post sightings of the birds we see from our windows and share them with the online community.  It didn't matter where you live or how big or small your garden was, the #BreakfastBirdwatch community has been a source of great solace for all involved.  Getting involved with a time specific Twitter hashtag means that you are safe in the knowledge that like minded people are also active, engaged and interested.  It's a great way to share, knowing that people with the same interest will see it and be engaged to 'like', chat and share experiences too.

 Great tits on feeder Jo Taylor

One of the more positive things to emerge from the first lockdown earlier this year was the increased interest in nature. Restrictions on travel and instructions to stay at home, led to many people discovering, possibly for the first time, places close to home, where they became more engaged with the world around them.  For some, bird song was so much more apparent and wonderous, while others simply spent more time in their gardens or local parks and noticed the beauty of the spring buds as they blossomed.

Autumn is no less a wondrous season, and being near the coast means that migrations are visible.  The arrival and daily movements of pink footed geese are noticeable, as are movements of the flocks of wading birds on the estuary with the changing of the tide.

In our gardens the bird visitors may change too.  Whilst we may not always notice the other birds will.  Many of "our" blackbirds will move further south for the winter, often to Spain, they will be replaced in our gardens by birds from Scandanavia and Continental Europe.  Whilst many will remain faithful.

As we have recently moved office I decided to put a feeder in the hedge just outside of the window.  This attracted a few birds to check it out the very same day, with a dunnock being the very first to use it, who would have thought?  Now 6 weeks on this feeder requires filling at least 3 times a week and attracts house sparrow (quite a number), dunnock, robin, blackbird, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, wood pigeon (for the crumbs) and jackdaw (who knock it off the branch).  All of this in a privet hedge at Fairhaven Lake.

 Our faithful juvenile blackbird visiting the feeder outside the office Jo Taylor

One of the most rewarding things we can do is to feed the birds. Whether you have a garden, a backyard or a balcony in a block of flats there's almost always somewhere to hang a feeder or a fat-ball! And if you're spending more time indoors, this at least allows a little bit of nature to come to you. There's nothing better than sitting with a nice hot brew watching the local birds coming and going and taking advantage of  the easy food source. As well as the birds previously mentioned there's a good chance of seeing chaffinchgoldfinch, long tailed tits and the occasional nuthatch or greenfinch maybe.

So whilst #BreakfastBirdwatch may have run its course with the ending of the lockdown, winter is a time more than ever that the birds appreciate that extra bit of easy food, especially as the days become colder and shorter.  Both in my small garden at home and the feeder outside the office window suet is a very popular choice, however our Twitter surveys suggest that sunflower hearts are also a popular choice.  Whilst the Discovery Centre shop is still closed bird food and feeders can be purchased online at the RSPB shop or at our other Lancashire store at Leighton Moss when the shop will re-open on 2 December.

It's great to enjoy nature from your own home, so happy feeding, you never know you may spot something rather more unusual and if you do then please do let us know.

Jo

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