FEEDING BIRDS DURING THE WINTER
It is imperative that birds are properly fed in the colder months as food is hard to come by for them over the winter period. It is no surprise that both novice and experienced gardeners make the most of their feeders during this time of year, as birds become prominent visitors to our gardens. Here at Polhill Garden Centre, we stock a wide range of bird care products from feeders to food, making us the perfect place for all of your bird care essentials.
BIRDS IN YOUR GARDEN:
Depending on the condition of the weather and where you live in the country, the types of birds which will visit your garden can differ slightly. The most common winter birds are Finches, Sparrows, Robins, Chaffinches and Blue Tits are just some examples of birds you will most likely see in your garden in the coming months.
However, due to the uncertainties on what sort of food will be available over the winter period, do not be surprised to see species of birds you did not expect to see as they search for food.
Here at Polhill we sell a wide range of differing bird feeders, supplying you with plenty of choice to make a purchase which is ideal for the all the different types of species of bird which visit your garden. To view some of our range, please click here
MAKE SURE BIRD FEEDERS ARE WELL SHELTERED:
It is preferable to keep feeders in an area well they won’t be exposed to too much wind. A simple tip would be to place feeders close to your house so that birds are visible for indoor bird watching. It could also be beneficial to place feeders near to bushes and hedges so that birds have areas of protection should predators be close by. This will also help to give peace of mind that birds are not being put in danger whilst they are eating food that you have put out.
As the winter months make it difficult for birds to get food, it is imperative that when we put food out for them, it supplies all the nutrients which the birds would need. Most birds thrive on seeds as both insects and fruit become more difficult to obtain over winter.
Below is a list on foods that will give birds all they need this winter –
- Nyjer Seeds – Click here to see our range
- Sunflower Hearts – Click here to see our range
- Suet Mixes – Click here to see our range
When choosing birdseed and other foods for winter feeding, take into consideration which bird species are present in the winter and what foods they prefer, to avoid excess wasted seed. Many people also prefer to use no-waste or no-mess seed mixes such as hulled sunflower seeds in the winter to avoid several months’ of hull accumulation beneath feeders in the spring.
HOW TO STORE BIRD SEED:
Birdseed should be kept in a cool dry place that is protected from the threat of pests. This will ensure that you have the quantity of food you expect whilst also significantly reducing the risk of contamination. Storage bins can be a great place to store birdseed. Simply choose a bin that would allow for easy access all throughout winter. It would also be beneficial to have a scoop on hand to easily enable refilling of feeders.
KEEPING BIRD FEEDERS CLEAN:
It is important that bird feeders are always kept clean and sterilised properly. Adequate cleaning will help to reduce mould, mildew and other unhealthy conditions that could foster disease amongst differing types of birds. It is important to dispose of old food when cleaning feeders, and then make sure that the feeder is dried properly before refilling with seeds.
LEFTOVERS CAN PROVE HELPFUL:
Some of our leftover food could be left out for birds instead of thrown away. For example, unsalted nuts and dried fruit are types of foods which birds can abstract a good level of nutrition from. Therefore, instead of disposing of these food types, make use of them and leave them out for the species of birds which visit your garden.
KEEP WATER IN BIRD BATHS DRINKABLE AND UNFROZEN:
Just like us, birds need to drink water daily. Although during the colder months it becomes extremely wet, windy and cold birds still must consume high levels of water as if it was still a scorching summer. This is an overriding factor towards their health. With ice being a prominent element over the course of the winter, birds may struggle to stay hydrated and keep alive. This is where you can help by putting out fresh and clean drinking water every day. For example, leaving out a bird bowl with fresh water and checking on it daily is an essential aspect as a method of assurance that the water is still in adequate drinking condition and not frozen over. A technique which could help with frozen water is by pouring a boiled kettle over it in order to melt away the layers of ice.
It is recommended checking the water and melting away the ice first thing in the morning to allow the animals to drink. However, it is highly suggested to take a cautious approach with regards to fish ponds. Most fish have a better chance of surviving the colder conditions by hibernating under the surface of ice, so may be best leaving the pond frozen over and putting out an alternative water source for animals to drink.
POLHILL TOP BIRD FEEDING TIPS:
- Make sure that your feeders are cleaned often
- Leave fruit and berries on trees, hedges and bushes to provide a natural source of food throughout the winter months
- Make sure you have enough bird food indoors, this way you can easily top food up once it runs out.
- Make sure that bird feeders are squirrel proof, otherwise they will consume all the seeds that are meant for the birds.
The above examples demonstrate various ways in which birds who visit your garden can best be fed. With the colder months making it difficult for birds to get the nutrients they need, it is important that keen gardeners help our small winged friends survive. We have an extensive range of bird care products, available both at our centre and online. To see our range of online bird care please click here. Should you need any bird care advice, please speak to our friendly in store team who will be happy to help.
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