Friday, 19 October 2012

How you can help garden birds during winter

October is a good time to begin putting food out in your garden for birds. By the time cold and frosty weather arrives birds will already know where they can find a fresh supply of food. Try and put food out in the morning as birds lose a lot of energy during wintry nights so will need to re-energise as quickly as possible.

Among the various bird foods include;
  • Peanuts which are rich in fat and a high energy food popular with most birds, avoid salted peanuts as most birds cannot process the salt.
  • Bird seed mixes.
  • Niger seeds
  • Black sunflowers seeds.
  • Fruits such as apples, pears and plums are another great bird food as they have high water content and are energy-rich with all their simple sugars.
  • Kitchen scraps such as fat and suet, mild grated cheese, cooked potatoes, pastry and soaked fruit.
  • Fat balls, suet bars are rich in fat and protein an excellent food especially in the winter months. 

Mesh bag warning!

Peanuts and fat balls are often sold in nylon mesh bags. Never put out any food for birds in mesh bags. These may trap birds feet and cause serious injury.

Water is also for birds, not just to drink but also to help keep themselves clean. To reduce the risk of water freezing over it may be a good idea to float small objects in the water, such as small twigs.

October is also a good time to also consider helping birds by planting fruit and berry bearing trees and shrubs such as; rowan, holly, blackthorn, dog rose, guelder rose, dogwood, elder, hawthorn, honeysuckle, ivy and berberis. 

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