Feeding the Birds in Winter
Winter is the most important time of year for feeding your garden birds. It’s a time when food shortages are common.
The berries of late summer and early autumn have disappeared. Insects are harder to come by. And frosty or snowy conditions make some food sources inaccessible. What’s more, birds are using up lots of energy just trying to stay warm.
Here are a few tips for feeding the birds in winter:
Provide a Variety of Food
Different birds prefer different foods. Sparrows and finches like to eat seeds, tits love to eat fat and thrushes and robins have a taste for sugary fruit. To help a variety of bird species, provide a variety of food. Our Fatty Box is ideal for the winter months.
Provide Fatty Foods
Fatty foods provide birds with the energy they need to maintain fat reserves and survive cold winter nights. You can leave out your own cooked leftovers such as unsalted bacon, bacon fat and beef fat.
Alternatively, buy fat balls and place them in a fat ball feeder. And, if you buy fat balls in a nylon mesh bag, be sure to remove the bag before hanging them as the mesh can injure and even trap birds.
Birds will come to rely on the food you provide. It’s important that you maintain a feeding routine throughout the winter. You should adjust the quantity of food to the demand but try not to let your bird feeders sit empty.
Provide Water Too
Your birds need to drink as well as eat. In winter, their usual water sources may freeze over. If you have a bird bath, try to keep the water from freezing and defrost when necessary.
Clean your Feeders Regularly
During winter, your bird feeders will be very popular with local bird populations. But when so many birds gather together in the same place, it’s easy for disease to spread. To keep your garden birds healthy, move bird feeders around the garden and clean them regularly.
React to the Weather
When the weather turns particularly cold, you might need to up your efforts if your garden birds are to survive. Try to provide food twice a day – in the morning and early afternoon – and clear any snow away from feeders.
The food you leave for your birds in winter can make all the difference to their survival. Provide high quality bird food on a regular basis and you’ll find more birds in your garden come spring.
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