Winter is a hard time for all animals. Due to the low temperatures, ice and snow have more difficult access to food. In the case of birds, feeding is often the only chance to survive the winter months. But it turns out that if feeding is poorly organized, it can harm birds more than bad weather conditions. Birds in the winter.
To feed or not to feed
Before answering this question, it is worth defining feeding. According to Society for the Protection of Birds, this is “aid consisting in providing birds with food that is as close as possible to their natural food, thus taking into account the requirements and adaptations of individual species”. If our actions are guided by this understanding of the concept of feeding, then it should not be harmful. However, it is important to do it correctly, otherwise our actions may backfire. So let’s take a closer look at good and bad bird feeding practices.
How to feed the birds
- Let’s feed at the right time
Very often people – driven by the will to help – start feeding when the animals do not need it yet. This makes them lazy and causes them to stop looking for food on their own. It also often changes migration habits, especially in water birds. An example is swans, which lose their instincts by feeding and choose city ponds instead of warm countries. This is due to feeding in the fall, when their migration period begins. The problem arises when severe frosts do not encourage walks in the park and the birds are left to themselves
To avoid such situations, remember that feeding should be started when the first strong frosts and snow appear, and animals actually have a problem with finding food. During a snowless winter, the birds should be able to cope on their own, without our help. Let’s end in early spring, when the birds are able to get their food on their own (usually around mid-March). Feeding water birds should be limited to periods of severe frost.
- Once we start feeding, do not interrupt it overnight
Birds will quickly get used to this easier form of feeding and will visit their feeder throughout the winter. Therefore, when we decide to feed, regularity and regularity are important. Especially in the period of severe frosts and thick snow cover. After awakening, the birds need to replenish the energy lost during the night very quickly and first fly where they are used to a regular food supply. If they do not find it, they may no longer have the strength to look for an alternative food source.
- Let’s put the feeder in the right place
A place out of the way, preferably in the vicinity of bushes, will be fine. There are more and more feeders on the market, which are equipped with technical solutions enabling access to seeds for small birds, and making it difficult for pigeons, which do well without the targeted help of humans.
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Do not place the feeder in a place where the birds feel threatened or have no escape route in the event of a predator attack. For example, a bad idea is a feeder on a trained porch. A bird fleeing in panic may collide with it and die on the spot.
- Let’s not treat bird feeding as a way to get rid of leftover spoiled food
Bad food, such as moldy bread, is just as harmful to animals as it is to us.
- Let’s not give the wrong food
Birds should not get leftovers from their dinner – they contain salt and many other substances that are harmful to birds. Bread can only be served as a complementary food – in such cases it should be cut into small cubes and absolutely must not be moldy. There cannot be too much of it, because then it breaks down quickly and promotes the development of pathogenic organisms.
- Lard yes, but in minus temperatures
When feeding birds with bacon, it is necessary to remember that it is not salted, and that it should be changed regularly (at most every 2 weeks, you can more often). It should hang in a shaded place, because in warmth and in the sun it will go rancid.
What to feed the birds with
Birds visiting the feeders eagerly use seeds, the most popular of which is sunflower (both shelled and unshelled). Sunflower amateurs include tit, greenfinch, sparrow and mazurka, nuthatch, do, grosbeak, bunting.
Cereal seeds, incl. Millet, oats and wheat are eagerly eaten by pigeons and sickles – millet is a food eagerly chosen also by sparrows and mazurkas. Bunches, greenfinches and bullfinches can also cope with it. Will the greenfinches, and even the redheads sometimes peeking into the feeders, willingly lean over the linseed.
- Lard, bacon, animal fat
Tit, blacksmiths and woodpeckers will gladly take advantage of them. They are also often eaten by ravens.
- Fat and seed mixture
It is a complete food for birds. It contains the right amount of fat, grain, as well as sunflower seeds, sorghum, wheat and corn. Thanks to properly selected ingredients, such food will help birds survive the winter, providing them with high energy value of the food consumed. Fat orbs are visited by a wide variety of species who choose their favorite ingredients from them.
Unsalted and shredded walnuts or hazelnuts are eagerly eaten by tits and woodpeckers. Exotic varieties are also suitable – as long as they are sufficiently fatty (high-calorie) and, of course, unsalted.
Sliced apples, pears, plums, grapes, raisins and dried berries will delight with scythes, squeaky flowers, robins and singers. Great tits or woodpeckers will not despise fruit either.
The finely diced boiled vegetables are suitable food for waterbirds. Boiled or even better steamed (or even raw) beets, carrots or parsley will surely make ducks, coots and swans wintering in the city happy – especially when served to them instead of bread. Partridges and pheasants are also eager to use vegetables.