January is an interesting time to look for birds in the garden, as days are short and the availability of natural food is limited. This brings more birds into gardens, for whom a reliable source of supplementary food can be a lifeline.
Whether it’s damp and mild or icy and cold, keep an eye on unusual visitors that may pop into your garden this winter. As well as the common species such as tits, house sparrows, blackbirds and robins, you may spot more unusual visitors as both countryside birds and winter migrants come into gardens in search of food. If conditions are cold then birds that usually don’t use gardens may come in for some sunflower seed or to drink from your supply of fresh water.Blackcap
The blackcap is a British resident although rarely comes into gardens, and overwinters in the Mediterranean. However some German blackcaps overwinter in the UK, and are more likely to visit gardens, particularly in cold weather. Greyish all over, only the male has a black cap, the female’s is chestnut brown. Blackcaps feed on berries and – unlike other garden birds –seem to like the berries of beauty berry, Callicarpa bodinieri. They have a reputation for being a bit of a bully at the bird feeder, chasing off other birds and not letting them feed. So if they come into your garden you will know about it!Redwing
The UK’s smallest true thrush, the redwing is mostly a winter visitor from Scandinavia although there is a small number of breeding pairs in the far north of Scotland. It has a creamy strip above its eye and orange-red patches under the crease of its wings. It typically gathers in flocks, often with fieldfares, and roams the countryside, feeding in fields and hedgerows on berries and windfall apples. It rarely visitsRead more on gardenersworld.com