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Wild Birds during the Winter Season

by User Not Found | Nov 26, 2012

Helping our wild flying friends in the garden this winter

There is nothing as heart-warming to see as a flurry of colourful chirping visitors about your garden on a cold frosty day. As the chill of winter sets in and makes life hard for many of our wild birds, there are numerous ways in which we can help at home during the winter season. If finding it difficult to attract these beautiful wild birds into your garden, we here at CountryLife are on hand to offer some advice on how to create a bird friendly sanctuary in your garden this winter.

Firstly, remember that not all foods will attract the same birds. It would be a good idea to watch out for the types of birds in your local area and follow our Feeding Tips, Feeder and Food Type Guides below, to choose the best combinations to attract wild birds into your garden. Once your bird sanctuary becomes a popular feeding site for wild birds, more unusual species will become curious and start visiting.

Bird Feeding Tips

Let’s now look at some things you should think about to ensure the most attractive feeding environment for wild birds in your garden.
  • When deciding where to position your bird feeders in your garden be sure it is in a secure environment, out of reach of dogs, cats and other potential threats to the birds.
  • If you buy a lot of seed, store it in a cool dry place in a rodent-proof, metal can. Check the seed often for mould and do not use seed that has been stored for an extended period of time.
  • Don’t forget water. Water is critical to birds’ survival and adding water to your to your bird feeding area will quickly attract birds. Check regularly to ensure water has not frozen over during the cold winter months.
  • Clean off feeders, platforms and perches regularly so seed is easily accessible.
  • We went Berry Mad during this winter season at CountryLife. Berried shrubs provide a natural source of food throughout the winter season with fruit and berries on trees, hedges and bushes about your garden.

Feeder Types

There are as many feeder types available as there are types of bird feed. Let’s looks at the best options for your outdoor area.
  • Peanut Feeder: The peanut feeder has a fine mesh surface which both provides a perch for birds whilst feeding and also ensures that birds cannot remove large pieces of nut which may pose a choking hazard.
  • Seed Mix Feeder: Seed feeders are transparent tubes with holes from which the birds can take the seed. As they are a smooth surface they will usually have one or two perches to allow birds to perch while feeding.
  • Nyger Seed Feeders: Nyger seeds are particularly small seeds and as such require specially designed feeders. They will have smaller feeding ports and often a tray to catch spills.
  • Bird Tables: While ground feeding birds may not be able to use feeders, tables are suitable for feeding most bird types. Ensure you clean your bird tables regularly.

Food Types

There are a large selection of feeds available for wild birds but as emphasised above its important to remember that different feeds will attract different birds. We want to help you choose what will best suit the wilds birds of your garden.

  • Peanuts: These are the most popular food for garden birds and will attract a wide variety of birds to your garden. Be sure to feed peanuts specifically for birds and check for mould before feeding.
  • Black Sunflower Seeds: These are a highly nutritious choice and are a favourite of many birds. They have higher oil content than the striped variety of sunflower seeds and make an excellent year-round food choice.
  • Nyger/Niger Seed: These little black seeds do require special feeders but are worth the investment as they are high in oil content and can encourage a wider variety of birds to feed in your garden. They are a particular favourite of Goldfinches and Siskins. As a high energy seed they are ideal for the colder weather when birds need that extra nutritional boost.
  • Suet: As a fat, suet is particularly beneficial in the Autumn and Winter to help birds store fat for the long cold months. Suet usually comes in the form of balls or cakes which consist of seeds, fruits and insects to provide a more rounded diet for birds. You can also make your own suet balls for use with feeders - pour melted fat over bird seed mix or fruit for home made suet cakes!
  • Fruit: Dried or fresh fruits can be added to your feeding menu to give birds some variety in their diets and attract a wider range of species to your garden. Dried fruits such as sultanas, raisins and cranberries can be added to peanut or seed mixes in feeders or scattered on feeding tables.
  • Mealworms: Mealworms are a wonderful treat for birds and will be particularly attractive to insect eating birds such as robins and blue tits.
  • Bread: Bread is not an ideal food for wild birds as it does not provide the fat or protein they require for healthy muscle and feather growth.

The above Feeding Tips, Feeder and Food Type Guides will give you a step forward in making your garden a more welcoming place for wild birds this winter season.

Visit our Online Wild Bird Care Shop to see out full range of Wild Bird Care products, or call into your local CountryLife Store. Also find us on Facebook  and Twitter for information on special offers and upcoming events.