Bird Feeding in The Winter – Tips and Mistakes

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The first Frost

Bird Feeders in the cold season – a very common detail in parks, gardens, and on windowsills. There are probably no questions about who needs them. With the weather and the earth covered in the first snow and ice, it is becoming increasingly difficult for birds to find food and the necessary substances. Many are in a hurry to help the birds, but not everyone understands that not everything you can eat will suit the birds. What to do to help but not harm the birds in the first frosts? It’s simple and fairly easy to remember, and the birds will appreciate your help.

Which birds need to be fed and when?

Not all birds need your help immediately after the weather has cooled down. Larger water birds, such as swans and ducks, are able to find food on their own, so feeding them should start in mid-December and not the first time when it gets colder. However, smaller birds such as snowdrops and sparrows may need help as early as the end of autumn, when the ground is first covered in frost and it is more difficult for them to find food. Often ornithologists have questioned whether it is still good to feed birds artificially. There are plenty of opinions on this issue, but the facts show that birds are in any case highly dependent on human activity and often suffer when they go downstream with it, so this feeding in the winter is a bit of such compensation for the loss suffered by the birds.

What do you need to know when starting to feed birds?

Remember that it is not the cold winter that kills the birds, but the famine. Once you start feeding birds, you can not stop until they can find food on their own. This is a very responsible job because once you have fed the food once, you will have to do it every day. If you actively feed the birds for a few days and then stop abruptly, this can cause serious problems for the birds, as they usually stay at the same place and don’t look elsewhere for food if you feed them, and if they won’t find it once during the regular feeding – they will wait patiently until food appears again, and by that time they may weaken and die.

Ornithologists emphasize that there is a wealth of information on bird feeding, but one important thing to keep in mind.

When you start feeding birds, they become almost like your pets, like kittens and puppies, so when you start feeding them, you have to take full responsibility for their future. Just as pets appear on the streets, feeders are abandoned too and can often be devastating to birds, so you need to be responsible and aware when you start feeding them. Bird feeding for children is discussed in schools, but adults should also be educated too. Once the feeder has been set up, it needs to be properly cared for, fill in time, and keep in mind that the birds will be very happy if you do so until it is easier for them to find the food on their own.

Overfeeding and feeding not on time

Often at all times of the year, and especially in winter, there is a problem with the overfeeding of birds. In birdfeeders, it is difficult to overfeed small birds because they are constantly changing and competing with each other, and when they eat the amount they need, then they give their way to others who need more food. The biggest problem is with water birds, which often suffer from overfeeding and feeding at the wrong time of year, which results in them staying for the winter, although not feeding them at the wrong time could allow them to spend the winter in a warmer, more favorable environment.

It is often observed that water birds often stay for the winter if they’re being fed at the wrong time. With the onset of greater frosts, open water areas are shrinking and smaller ponds of water are completely frozen, so water birds can no longer find food and it is too late for them to fly to warmer lands because they will not have enough energy. In this way, waterfowl become completely dependent only on human care. The tradition of feeding water birds with bread and buns is also very worrying. In this way, the birds not only do not get the necessary materials to keep the bird strong and in good condition, but it even starts to become obese and their normal metabolism is disrupted. Sometimes a swan weighs three times its normal weight, and a bird of this weight can have serious problems. Overfeeding is very hard to control because probably when feeding one of the birds we don’t think about how many breads loafs he could have consumed before you started feeding them. The need to ban the feeding of water birds is often debated. Experts agree that feeding waterbirds in the summer and fall pose a risk to the bird’s health and life. When the cold is lower, water birds need to be fed less, because then they start looking for food again, spread around the water, and no longer accumulate in the feeding areas. If you already have a few water birds left in your lake for the winter and the weather outside is very cold, save them from exhaustion and starvation, but don’t overdo it. The study found that 2-4 bags of grain are enough for a swarm of 50-70 swans during the winter.

Which feeder to choose?

What the standards, shape, materials, and size of the feeder should be are not specified anywhere. The most important thing is where it will be hung and what size birds you want to help because we probably do not want all the food to go to crows and other large birds that can find food on their own, even in winter. The birdfeeder does not have to be house-shaped, with walls and a roof. If you do not have the skills to make it or do not want to spend money to buy a feeder – a simple plate will suffice and feed on it. However, the classic and very beautiful solution is a house without borders, which can be purchased or made from various household items. The simplest milk packaging can be used. Although the beauty is small and it will probably break down after the winter – it still performs the function, so if you want to help the birds, you really don’t have to spend anything extra. There is also no need for a too big birdfeeder as they can attract larger birds such as crows, crows or geniuses.

Take care of the safety of the bird feeder

No less important is to hang the feeder in a safe, but a visible place. In winter, not only do birds hardly find food, but also wild predators and birds of prey too, and catching birds for your pet cat can just be a great pastime. Hang feeders in places inaccessible to them, such as on a branch where cats will not be able to sneak unnoticed. To protect birds from birds of prey, it is advisable to install feeders near dense bushes so that they can escape quickly when in danger, as larger predators will not be able to break through dense shrubs so quickly and easily. It is also important that the birds can fly out at least on two sides so that the bird is not trapped in the corner in the event of danger.

What to feed and what not to feed birds?

Specialists encourage you to add as natural a food as possible, without impurities or spices. Feed must not be preserved or otherwise cooked. Salted food (salted sunflowers, salted nuts) is also not suitable, because the birds that have eaten such food will start looking for a place to drink, and if they do not find it, they will start to eat snow, which can disrupt their intestines and cause them to die. Under no circumstances may spoiled, rancid, obsolete, parasitic, or chemically treated food be added to the feeder. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, or bananas and their peels are also unsuitable. Probably the most commonly used food is black rye bread, but it is also not available to birds in the winter, as it is poorly digested in the cold and will ferment in the bird’s throat.

Sunflowers – everywhere and always?

The most ideal and inexpensive option is the sunflower seeds. It is also most beneficial to birds because they are high in fat, which is a very important source of energy for small birds. The most important thing is that they are not roasted, shelled or, as mentioned, unsalted. Sunflowers with a thin shell are best, because they will not cause additional problems for the birds, and when they are warmed by eating them, black small sunflowers are perfect for this, look for holes, as they may indicate what parasites are in the sunflowers and such sunflowers cannot be given. . Sunflowers can be rolled up to make it easier for birds to peel.

What do birds eat?

The birds eagerly feed on small grains, oatmeal, and other groats. It is best to sow mixed seeds and grains with sunflower and hemp. Birds can also be fed white bread with confidence, but it, like other flour products, should be dried and crushed, because a simple slice of bread can freeze into ice at sub-zero temperatures. Birds with pleasure eat hanged meat, lard, and animal fat. Meat and bacon from the store are perfect for this, only it is very important that they are not salted or with other spices, only natural meat and bacon can be hanged to the birds. Meat and bacon should be attached with wire, chopping is not necessary. Parrot food is also suitable, just note that it does not contain the aforementioned products that birds cannot be kept on.

Bird delicacy – bird cake

Want to do something more than hang a birdfeeder and crush sunflowers? We have a very great idea. Make a bird pie. It’s very quick and easy, and for the birds, it’s going to be a real feast. Take a high tin and dissolve the fat (or margarine) in it, add nuts and sunflower to it – the most important and valuable part of the bird pie. Add other grains, millet groats, flakes, oats, oat flakes, corn, wheat, poppy, flax, linseed, hemp, and other groats. Stir, pour into a bag, place a string inside the cake and leave the other end outside, shape and place in the fridge. When the cake is frozen, transfer it to the grid or hang it outside. Birds will enjoy with pleasure this valuable treat.

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