Birds need a festive feast to survive winter

Saxon's ashes and ball. Photo: Twitter @HantsFireDogs

Fire dog Saxon returns to favourite place as his ashes are laid alongside favourite tennis ball

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WITH its red breast, robins are often associated with Christmas.

But the RSPB is encouraging people in Hampshire and West Sussex to spare a thought for some other birds that are struggling to survive as winter sets in.

Latest statistics show robins are doing better than ever in the region – increasing by almost 20 per cent in recent years. But other red-breasted birds, such linnets, bullfinches and lesser redpolls, are not faring well and would benefit from food being put out for them.

Samantha Stokes, spokeswoman for the RSPB, said: ‘The robin gets most of the glory at this time of year but there are some other “Christmas coloured” birds that need our attention too.

‘While these species aren’t as common on the birdtable there is a chance you’ll see bullfinches and lesser redpolls as the weather worsens and they come into your garden in search of food and shelter.’

Between 1995 and 2008, linnets and bullfinches have shown greater declines in the south east than in any other region.

Linnet numbers are down by 50 per cent and bullfinches have seen a 41 per cent decline.

Mrs Stokes added: ‘The way our countryside is managed, and the natural resources it provides is vital – but at this time of year don’t underestimate the range of garden visitors you might get.’

For information on feeding birds in your garden check out rspb.org.uk/advice.