We get asked a lot about feeding birds when were out and about at our forest sites. The changing seasons bring with them different challenges for our forest and garden visitors so it is vital to keep a regular and varied offering at your feeding stations all year round.
As we get deeper into winter, the species that have remained in the UK will become more dependent on your help to find a supply of nutritious foods and offering a balanced variety is the best way to continue attracting feeding birds into your gardens.
Don't forget, it is important to help garden birds all year round but there are certain times when natural food supplies are harder to find so our supplementary help is essential. The freezing winter weather should be a signal that help is required!
If you’re just starting out feeding the birds our Starter Pack has everything you’ll need to outfit a small to medium sized garden. It is also a great way to encourage children to learn all about visiting species.
While a greater variety of foods will attract more birds, you should take care in what you put out. Don’t put out salted nuts, desiccated coconut, highly spiced food or very dry bread for example. It is fine to offer kitchen scraps to feed birds during the winter but try and use wholesome foodstuff. While small quantities of better bread, cooked rice and other scraps won't harm adult birds, these foods offer no nutrition for young birds.
To make your winter bird feeding even more enjoyable for both you and the birds…
Winter is a great time to feed the birds, and with the right bird feeding techniques it is possible to enjoy dozens of beautiful bird species right in your own garden.
Time for wildlife to find shelter…….
After making sure all your garden visitors have got sufficient food, the next thing to think about is shelter. It’s now a known fact that there are simply not enough nesting holes and natural roosting spots for our birds to shelter over winter and to nest in during spring. This is the perfect time of year for hanging new nest boxes or relocating old ones that have been empty for a while. If you have a nest box in your garden that has been unoccupied for a year or more, chances are that it’s not in an ideal location. The main things to remember when locating a nest box are: Face away from strong northerly or easterly winds but at the same time it must face away from direct sunlight, ideally they should be secured around 6’ up the tree to reduce ‘swaying’ and finally, away from smothering vegetation that will make it tricky to nip in and out of the nest box. Remember, you can never have enough nest boxes in your garden and if all located suitably, they’ll all be occupied by next spring and you’ll really be making a difference to the success of many of the UK’s favourite breeds of birds.
When it comes to shelter, remember to spare a thought for any hibernating mammals that may have found refuge in your garden. Any cosy little spot could be a potential sheltering space including a pile of leaves or twigs. The most important thing to remember is to check beneath any bonfire sites before setting alight to them to check for sleepy hedgehogs!
We have a hedgehog home that has been designed with the help of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Click HERE for details. Place it in a quiet part of your garden, preferably against a bank, wall or fence and hope that you will have a visit from a friend seeking a home. Make sure the entrance to the house does not face North or North East, thus avoiding the cold winter winds. It may then become the winter home for some lucky hedgehog. If female, she may even have her young in it in the spring.
We hope you enjoy all that winter has to offer either in our great forests or your own garden.