Notice the Chill
I think today has been the first real day of the winter... the wind switched from a rather mild westerly to a rather chilly northerly. With a small change in temperature us humans simply add more clothes, more layers. We can handle extremes in temperatures quite easily, adding or taking away layers of clothing as and when required.
So how do our garden birds cope?
I'm sure you may have noticed that in the Summer months, birds tend to look skinny and if like me you go out bird-watching or check your feeders very early on in the morning, birds look plumper, yet know sufficient weight has been gained overnight.
So how do birds regulate their temperature?
Like us birds can cope with small fluctuations in temperature, during warm summer days birds lay their feathers flat against the body which enables the bird to stay cool (one thin layer).
In the cool summer evenings the birds simply fluff their feathers up creating a thicker layer that traps more air and therefore keeps them warmer.
At this time of year the fluffing of feathers isn't enough, they need to increase the fat layer around the body to cope with the ever decreasing temperatures that the British winter has in store for them.
Generally the time the birds start to fatten up depends on the shortening days and the first chilly snaps of the autumn, this week has it all.
The cold Northerly breeze that has brought snow to Scotland is set to blow for the following week and after that the temperatures won't regain any real strength till spring.
It is now time to keep the feeders stocked, fat balls, suet and fat feasts of all varieties will ensure our birds are able to 'pile on the pounds' before the first really cold snap hits.
If this happens to soon (like in Northern Scotland) the birds will suffer and sadly some will perish.
Let's not let that happen...
Stock the feeders with high energy, high fat content feeds and help the birds gain weight in preparation for those chilly nights ahead...