Feeding Birds in Winter
How you can help the little visitors in the cold season
In frosty temperatures and when there is snow cover, we recommend supplementary feeding with bird food so that native birds are not left short of nourishment. The animals need sufficient amounts of food to balance out the energy lost by their small bodies due to the cold. Winter feeding contributes to the survival of individuals, provided that bird friends use the right food and make sure that the feeding place is kept clean.
Feeding birds properly
In general: leftovers from human meals are not suited for feeding to our feathered friends. Food should be varied and adjusted according to the needs of the birds. Quality feed mixes are available for purchase. Seed eaters like sparrows and tits prefer sunflower and hemp seeds. Worm and insect eaters like blackbirds, thrushes and robins like dried berries, ground nuts and chopped apple. Soft food such as fruit should not be left out in larger quantities as it can freeze.
In order to attract many different bird species, it is best to set up various feeding spots. Feeding tubes and feeding funnels are recommended because the new bird feed slips down as the food is eaten and remains clean. Fruit, seeds and fatty food can be left out in a classic bird house – but things must be kept clean here, too. Infections spread fast in soiled feeding spots. For this reason, food remains and excrement should be cleared away daily and the feeding tray should be protected against the weather. In order to protect the birds from natural enemies, they should have an unblocked view from the feeding spot of about three metres in radius.
When temperatures get very low, waterfowl also have problems looking for food and can be helped with portions of suitable feed such as grains, acorns, chicken feed, fruit, small amounts of bread and special waterfowl feed. However, municipal regulations such as feeding bans must be taken into account.
Maintaining natural food sources
Carefully thought out feeding helps individual birds through the winter and offers the observer a thrilling experience of nature. But maintaining natural food supplies is vital to stopping the decline of species. Near-natural gardens with berry bushes, fallen fruit, shrubs and piles of leaves that offer a refuge for small animals also guarantee a full stomach in hard times.