During the warmer months of the year most wild birds survive mainly on insects, spiders, slugs and earthworms. This is a diet high in protein and high in energy. A wild bird needs such a diet to support themselves and their offspring through the demanding breeding season.
With the arrival of winter, the above food sources decline. Our wild birds rely on seeds and berries to get through the winter period. But, it can be difficult for our wild birds to make it through the winter period on this food alone. The death rate, particularly among smaller birds, is high during these months as wild birds struggle to find suitable food supplies.
Hence, it is important that we support our wild birds during these difficult times. The presence of wild birds in our gardens has many benefits. Bird watching has amazing health benefits, fosters a sense of community, strengthens familial bonds and has environmental benefits. Read more about the benefits of a wild bird presence here. To learn about how you can support the wild birds in your area, read our guidelines below.
Wild Bird Food:
If you would like to support the wild birds in your area during the winter, food is an essential element. Although many people believe that birds will eat anything available to them, this is not the case. Birds have nutritional needs, just like us. Unfortunately, most foods naturally available during the winter months, do not provide wild birds with their nutritional needs.
Some foods that one should give to wild birds include:
- Peanuts – peanuts are a source of energy and are packed full of essential oils. They attract a wide variety of birds to a garden.
- Fat balls – fat balls are a favourite food for many wild birds. They are also a source of energy, keeping birds warm and healthy.
- Wild Bird Seed – wild bird seed comes in many varieties, all with high nutritional content. These are great to give birds a variety of food sources.
Wild Bird Feeding Tips
- Maintain a regular supply of food. Once you begin to feed wild birds they come to depend on this food.
- Only put out enough food for 1-2 days to ensure the food being consumed is fresh.
- Provide fresh, clean water for your garden birds.
- Provide a variety of foods. Not all foods will attract the same birds.
- Provide a variety of feeding methods. Some birds can hang from feeders while others, such as robins and blackbirds, may prefer table feeding. Don’t worry if you don’t have trees available for hanging the feeders – a metal hook, either planted into the ground or hung off the side of a structure works just as well.
Wild Bird Safety
As we attract wild birds to our gardens, it is important to remember that they can encounter many hazards in our gardens. Ensure your birds are safe by following the below tips:
- If large birds, such as magpies, are in your area, you may want to invest in squirrel-proof feeders.
- Avoid table or ground feeding if there are cats in your area.
- Place all feeders above the height which a cat can access (1.5m) and in open areas, so cat’s can’t linger nearby.