Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Surviving in the Snow

No matter what the weather the birds have to feed. When the snow was falling heavily there was a bigger rush than ever for food.

Chaffinches in the Snow

Wood Pigeon
Wood Pigeon in the Snow

Goldfinch in the Snow

One problem can be keeping a supply of water for the birds to drink. The bird bath freezes over in no time but fortunately the pump and waterfall on the pond have kept working.

After the first lot of snow had all but melted away we had between two and three inches of fresh snowfall yesterday.  This morning it was very soft and slushy in places as the temperature rose above freezing. On this morning's walk we had to quickly move on to someones drive as a gritting lorry went past with its snow plough on the front scattering slush everywhere.

One of my best investments for snowy and icy weather was a set of spikes which fit on shoes or boots.

Ice Spikes
When I first got them near the end of last Winter (from Amazon UK) I wondered how much use 6 little 4mm bits of tungsten carbide would be. The verdict - fantastic. I have tried to slide my foot on sheet ice and they just stick fast. Body weight is enough for them to get a good grip. Can't creep up on people when wearing these - they really crunch into ice!  Snow, ice or even muddy footpaths - I remain sure footed. They are kept on an old pair of shoes so they are always ready for use.


  1. Hi John, it is great to see all your birds and to know they are all being looked after so well. We hope the Great Tit is still roosting with you. We are just inundated with starlings.

    As regards keeping the water from freezing, we use a tip that we came across from the RSPB from last year which involves putting out a metal tray with water in it, which is supported over a night-light (we use a small roasting tin). It has worked for us although we did have to ditch the tin in the end and get a new one for this winter as the candle flame burnt a little hole in it.

    This winter we have also put out a "snugglesafe" microwaveable pad on a piece of foam all in a clear plastic bag, under another of the water baths as we have had a young hedgehog visiting us for the past fortnight or so and we were afraid he would burn his paws if he climbed into the metal water tin, as he has done climbed into it in the past. The snugglesafe is a pet warmer and has a hard plastic case which is easy to keep clean. The last time we weighed the hedgehog he was 595g but we continue to keep an eye on him.

  2. Hello Twosie. Strangely the Starlings here have almost disappeared at the moment. At least that gives the smaller birds a chance to feed.

    Two great ideas there for keeping water from freezing. I have lots of T candles so I'll be trying that idea when the real freeze sets in.

    I used to have a microwavable hot water bottle a few years ago - worked lovely. The snugglesafe sounds a good idea. At least gales can't blow that out!

    I hope your hedgehog finds somewhere to snuggle down now the colder weather has set in.

    Yes - the Great Tit is still roosting in the nestbox. She was a bit lateer up this morning and I don't blame her.

  3. Love the photos of the birds, great to see them enjoying the food. I've gone mad myself with feeders in this weather. Sadly having numerous cats in the neighbourhood, I get less birds than you.

    Good footwear tip too..........

  4. Good to know, and see the birds with a supply of food for the winter John.
    I remember when you got those snow spikes. Good investment.

  5. There are plenty of cats round here W.R.. I think Bobby and an electronic cat scarer help. Every so often I have to chase one particularly persistent black cat out of the garden.

  6. They were a good investment Keith. I used to be so nervous about walking in icy weather but now it's just a question of taking things a little slower and all is well on our twice daily outings.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

Related Posts with Thumbnails