Birds have a hard time over the winter. Their food supply starts to dwindle and some even have to change what they eat entirely over the winter months. During the short days, and long cold nights, birds struggle to locate water, safe places to nest are in short supply, and their diet is very hard to maintain.

 

Making sure your feeders are well stocked with dried insects, seed, and fatty food items like suet or even lard, can be the best way to help our feathered friends out there in the cold.

 

Location: where to place your feeder

Make sure any feeders are out of the way of any likely cat perches. Limiting any potential hunting is just one way to make birds feel welcome in your garden. Make sure if you own a cat, that they wear a bell on their collar to alert birds to their presence.

 

Calories: what to feed

Whilst we might be watching our calorie intake over the festive period, birds need as much high-energy food as they can find. Most insects don’t survive the falling temperatures so finding food naturally can be tough. Suet is a great source of fat that helps birds to stay warm. Similarly, high fat seeds and nuts like sunflower seeds and peanuts make for a delicious fatty treat. You can buy suet bird products in the supermarket but they’re also fun to make yourself. Try filling half a coconut shell with peanuts, mixed seed, porridge oats and melted dripping. Wait for it to set then either place the shells out on the bird table, or punch a hole through one end and tie them onto tree branches. You can experiment with different ingredients like breadcrumbs and even dried mealworms.

 

Bird Spotting

Winter is a great time to spot feathered visitors from far away lands.

Just as native bird species fly south for the winter, holiday-maker birds often fly to the UK from Scandinavia or Siberia in order to escape harsh winters. Keep your eyes peeled for Bramblings, Waxwings, Brent Geese and the fiery-headed Wigeon. Of course, our favourite winter bird has to be the Robin. Native to this country and found all year round, Robins have become synonymous with Christmas.

 

 

Water

Birds need access to a water supply during winter. You can help by putting out fresh water each day if it’s likely to ice over, or by making sure the bowl is topped up. There are even some water heaters on the market that you might want to investigate.

 

In summary

There are lots of ways to make life a little easier for birds during the winter. Providing evergreen cover, access to food and water, and keepingthem safe from feline predators are all ways you can make your garden as attractive to birds as you can.

 

The bonus is that you could well end up with a whole host of feathered friends from far away climbs. So, whether you go shop-bought, or homemade it’s really easy to make sure feathered visitors to your garden have full bellies year-round.