While we are gathering around the table for a nice Christmas meal, the wild birds outside are having a very hard time. The trees are empty, the berries have run out and insects are buried underground. At the same time, urbanisation does not make the situation of wild birds any easier in winter. How can you best feed and support the birds during the winter?
It is important that you feed the birds in the garden what they would find in the wild, but is scarce in winter and in the city. So feed birds during the winter months with a high-fat feed so that they have enough energy to maintain their body temperature during the cold nights.
By the end of the winter it is best to provide bird feed with sufficient protein. The adult birds need it to lay good eggs, and the young birds use it to build strong muscles.
How should I feed birds in winter?
Bread is not much of a help for wild birds in the winter. Especially when there is milk or butter on said bread. Birds do not digest dairy, it has a laxative effect. Salt, too, is not good for them. Margarine and oil make the feathers less watertight.
Birds should be fed high-fat bird feed or suet balls with seeds and berries or insects. Spread that feed in your garden, because different birds like to eat in different locations. Feed them one hour before sunset and right after you rise and shine.
And why not hang a nest box?
Because even in winter, wild birds need a birdbox. Especially blue and great tits will look for shelter in bad weather. It is important that the nest box is water- and windproof, with a few holes at the back. This way the box is well-ventilated and dry.
Attach the bird box firmly, in a quiet place, with a free access route. Also make sure that the birdbox is difficult to reach for cats.