Although it’s still winter, your garden is almost certainly not dormant. Far from it – just a few minutes of quiet observation will reveal a rich variety of wildlife on your doorstep, from small and large mammals to wild birds. And if you take care to look after their needs at this time of year when natural food resources are low, you will be rewarded with a spectacular and ever-changing display of wildlife.

Wild birds will especially benefit from you putting out bird feed and water for them, and high-fat food is invaluable at this time of year. Fat balls contained in a specially designed feeder as an alternative to nets that birds can get tangled in are ideal.

Nuts and grain are also essential to provide a varied diet. Try a high energy mix to attract a variety of birds such as robins, tits and sparrows. You may even be lucky enough to spot some more unusual visitors such as bramblings, siskins and redwings.

Entice starlings and woodpeckers with peanuts in a wire feeder or tempt goldfinches with niger seeds in a specially designed feeder.

Finally, don’t forget that birds need water too. Ensure that your birdbath, or just a tray of water, is placed in a sunny area so that it is visible to birds and that any ice melts easily. You can also put a small ball such as a ping pong ball in to help prevent the water completely freezing over. Remember to keep your water container clean, and add some stones to act as a perch to keep the birds happy.

Following these tips will increase the number of birds in your garden, who will repay you by keeping you company while you are gardening or providing a beautiful display which you can observe from the comfort of indoors.