Around this time of year, you may notice fewer birds in your garden. Don’t be fooled by this Whilst your birds will be busy incubating their eggs which have to have heat for the chicks to develop within the shell, May is a fickle month, and should it bring a prolonged spell of cold, damp conditions, unimaginable numbers of chicks will never make it out of the nest.
The danger posed by cold and damp is wrapped up in food supply. The cold makes a small bird’s food less active and harder to find than it would be on fine, dry days; wind and rain may make the search more difficult still, making the leaves tremble and the caterpillars or other invertebrates hang on for dear life. Your bird table and feeders are great support during this time.
Most garden birds begin their incubation only when they have laid all their eggs. There is good sense in this; it means that the chicks will all hatch out roughly in synchrony, and the brood can be dealt with as a brood, rather than as a group of individuals.
In the same way, if you’re preparing a dinner party with baked potatoes on the menu, you put them all in the oven at the same time, to be ready for each guest at one sitting.
Try out your Niger seed – Goldfinches are particularly partial to it. Pop a tiny bit out or mix it in with your feeder seed and wait :)