When the temperature drops significantly and snow and frost covers the ground, it adds a magical element to our gardens. But when it gets cold very quickly - like it has done this week - it can be a tough time for birds. Offering food on a bird table, bird feeder, or providing seasonal shelter like a bird box, can make a huge difference. Whether you have a big garden or just a window box, follow these tips to give birds a helping hand in the cold weather.
What to Feed Birds in Winter
Food for birds becomes scarcer when it’s cold and birds need to eat more to stay warm. They need plenty of calorific, oil-rich foods to replenish the fat reserves that are burnt through quicker in cold weather.
Get to Know Your Birds
Different species eat different things. While starlings will eat just about anything, sparrows and finches love seeds; robins and thrushes enjoy worms and fruit; and tits like fat. Depending on the species, sunflower seeds, suet balls (also called fat balls) and good-quality unsalted peanuts are great - just make sure you’re providing the right menu for your diners.
Stick to a Routine
Once you start leaving food for birds in winter, it’s important to stick to a routine and keep your feeders topped up. Birds will keep coming back if they know there’s food available, and they may waste energy visiting to discover an empty feeder.
Keep Bird Baths Topped Up
Most birds need to drink several times a day, even in winter. They also need to bathe and keep their feathers clean to ensure they stay waterproof, so it’s important to keep bird baths unfrozen and supplied regularly with fresh water. On icy days, use warm water to refill your bird bath, but do not use boiling water as this quick change in temperature can crack stone bird baths. We have a fantastic range of bird baths to explore here.
Credit: Stephen Barnes
Keep it Clean
Only leave out what will get eaten that day. You don’t want to end up with a soggy pile of uneaten food on your bird feeder that could attract rats or other unwelcome visitors. Dirty bird tables and bird feeders can help spread diseases, so always ensure yours is kept clean so your regular visitors can stay healthy - and always remember to wash your hands after feeding the birds.
Watch Birds Up Close with a WiFi Bird Box Camera System
By providing food and a place to nest, you’ll help your garden birds get through what can be a tough time of year. Check out our two new WiFi Bird Box Camera Systems, which not only offer birds a safe, secure place to nest, but provide you with 24/7 access to close-up HD views and audio of your nesting birds from the comfort of your own home on your phone or tablet.