Birds have a tough old time of it and recent studies have shown that farmland species like the house sparrow are especially vulnerable. Nature is finely balanced and unforgiving and that’s why the food we provide in our gardens is so vital to our feathered friends.
FOOD AND DRINK
Different birds have different types of beaks. For example,a robin has a neat tweezer – like beak which it uses to delicately nip at insects whereas the big broad bill of the greenfinch is perfect for cracking open large seeds.
Different birds visiting your garden will have different food needs, so check out who is visiting and make sure you are serving up what they enjoy. A little bit of research into this will have you attracting a wide range of birds to your garden.
Small birds simply can’t store fat due to their size and as they burn off a lot just keeping warm each night in the winter, leave them fatty foods on a daily basis to keep them warm and cosy. Lardy bird-cake or fat balls are perfect for these customers. Whilst birds need fatty foods during the winter to give them instant energy and keep them warm their requirements change when spring comes and they’re feeding their young.
Most garden birds switch to foraging for insects, larvae and worms because the chicks need protein to grow, so live food is the order of the day for them!
Keep feeding birds all the year round if you can and also leave them clean water. If you have a bird bath, keep it clean by disinfecting it regularly and keep it free of ice in winter by adding boiling water.
The trees and hedges in your garden may well be providing birds with places to nest but it’s still worth putting out a wide selection of nesting materials in late winter, such as pet fur, fluff, bits of wool, moss, dry grass, plant stems and even string.
Artificial nest boxes work very well for hole-nesting birds such as tits but many house sparrow and starlings will also use these now as many sites have been lost in the countryside.
Always remember, even a few small actions can help more birds survive and your reward will be an influx of interesting and attractive new visitors to your garden.