Feathered friends on way, say experts
Garden bird feeders across Northern Ireland have gone unusually quiet this autumn - but the message to birdwatchers is 'don't panic'.
The RSPB says the unusually mild weather this November means many birds are continuing to visit their usual food sources in the countryside and are not yet relying on garden feeders.
"People love to see birds in their gardens all year round so it's only natural they might be a little concerned that they are not seeing the numbers of birds they usually do this time of year," spokesperson Amy Colvin said.
Bird numbers typically start to rise at garden feeders during late autumn and early winter, but so far this year it would seem birds are finding plenty of food in the wider countryside and don't need to depend on visiting gardens yet.
"As the weather gets colder and food becomes scarcer the birds will start to visit feeders and will really appreciate the generosity of local people in making sure there will be a constant food supply available throughout the winter," Ms Colvin said.
"Keeping your feeders, tables and bird baths topped up when the cold weather arrives will make sure your garden visitors are well-fed and looked after, and it will also encourage them into your garden just in time for you to take part in the world's biggest wildlife survey in January, the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch."
For more information on feeding birds during the winter, visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes.