Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower – Albert Camus
Now we are officially into the autumn months we wave a sad farewell to that summer visiting feathered friends and welcome our winter visiting birds. Many birds start to migrate to the UK in search of more accessible food throughout the winter and to take advantage of the milder weather than in their native countries. That being said, there’s still plenty to do in the garden to help our feathered friends and other forms of wildlife.
This November we’ll guide you through your Happy Beaks garden. With birds to spot, our top gardening tips, this months winner of #SnappyBeaks and much more!
Garden Birds to Spot in November
Autumn is a great time for birdwatchers. Several bird species migrate to the UK in time for winter or pass through on their way to warmer climates.
A favourite winter visitor to the UK, the fieldfare can be spotted around the British countryside from October onwards. These large colourful thrushes are recognizable from their blue-grey head and rump, rusty-brown back, speckled brown breast, and black tail.
Gregarious birds, the fieldfare can be found in large flocks, foraging for food in open fields and parks. They are also frequent visitors at bird tables if natural food sources are scarce; their favourite foods are insects, worms, and berries, but they will peck away at any fruit you’ve got laid on your bird table, or any seed mix you’ve got on offer.
Another bird from the thrush family to keep an eye out for this autumn is the redwing. Often mistaken for its cousin above, the fieldfare, the redwing can be identified from its speckled breast, red flanks, brown back, and white eye stripe.
These fascinating birds love to snack on berries and will strip a tree bare before moving on in search of more food. They may also frequent gardens and bird feeders during the winter if natural food sources are scarce and snow covers the ground – keep an eye out, and you might see one pottering around in your flower beds!
A cousin to the chaffinch, the brambling is a very sociable bird during the autumn and winter months once it has migrated to British shores. Bramblings are recognisable by their bright orange plumage, mottled head and back (which is usually black in the summer), white rump and belly, and red legs.
They are particularly fond of beech woodland and can be seen foraging in flocks numbering thousands. They will often gather with other finches; during autumn, you’re likely to spot them along east coast woodlands and fields. Bramblings tend to visit gardens during the colder winter weather when natural food sources are scarce; being ground feeding birds, they’ll flit about under feeders and bird tables eating the seeds that other birds have dropped.
For more birds to spot this autumn, head to our Guide to Autumn Birds.
Gardening in November
The work is never done in the garden, even in the autumn months!
- Garlic likes to be planted in autumn as do some shallots and onion sets. Winter salad leaves can now be sown along with another hardy veg.
- Autumn is the bare root season so now is the perfect time to order your fruit trees.
Flowers & Bulbs
- Rake leaves from the lawn and put them somewhere to rot down for 12 to 18 months.
- Protect tender plants from the autumn frost.
- A wet November day is the perfect time to give pots and seed trays a good clean ready for next years sowing.
- Birds don’t hibernate, therefore they need to consume a lot of energy to keep themselves warm at night. Keep your feathered friends well stocked up with energy-rich foods such as suet, peanuts and mealworms to see them through the cold weather.
- Now is a good time to start cleaning and clearing out your nesting boxes so that your garden birds have somewhere warm and dry to take shelter on cold winter nights.
- Bonfire season starts now but please always remember to do a hedgehog check before lighting.
We love seeing your photos. Each month we plan to showcase some of the best photos out there, of birds in the garden and home, and give you a chance to win a prize in the process.
This months winner is photographer Ben Cokayne from Hertfordshire. We couldn’t resist this fantastic shot of a beautiful Blue Tit mid feast. Make sure you check out Ben’s page @bensnatureshots for your daily dose of nature in action!
Helping Wildlife in Autumn
The harsh cold weather can be tough for some British wildlife, many of our favourite garden visitors begin to prepare for their long sleep through the winter months. Some species, such as hedgehogs, truly hibernate. Whereas others, such as frogs, enter a state of torpor from which they will occasionally rouse to search for food.
We’ve put together a list of ways you can help the wildlife in your garden prepare for winter and emerge happily and healthily next spring. Read our blog to find out more about ‘How to Help Wildlife in Autumn’.