As a garden bird feeder the Hungry Gap is one of those times where I have come to expect some of the scarcer species that visit my garden feeders to appear. Numbers of Chaffinches increase under my feeders throughout February and along with March they are the best months for me finding the odd Brambling amongst them. My theory is that these individual Bramblings are clearly around in the general area and get drawn into the garden by following the Chaffinches.
Both Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer, very scarce birds at my garden feeders, have a tendency to turn up at my garden feeders during February and March, though Yellowhammers seem to need a late cold spell to push them into the garden. I’m always delighted to catch sight of either in the garden as I know they don’t hang around for long!
This time of year I often spread a little seed on the ground too, particularly a mix with small seeds as I know that our garden Dunnocks, and we get up to 10, are another species that will be finding it tough to find small seeds over the next few weeks. It’s not just the garden though where we can help our local bird populations. I have a dog and often walk in the local area, I make a point of popping a small bag of seed mix into my coat pocket and scattering a handful around the places I have seen Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers along the field margins and hedges. It may not bring these birds into my garden but I get great satisfaction later in the year finding a singing male or seeing a brood of youngsters in these same areas, knowing I may have helped the parents get through a tough period in better condition to face the breeding season ahead.