Bird feeders. Tips for a cold buffet
Nature continues to provide food for the native birds that have not flown away for the winter, such as sparrows, blackbirds, tits, greenfinches and woodpeckers. Almost all adapt their diet to what the season has to offer. Instead of worms there are berries; instead of caterpillars, nuts; in place of spiders, they eat seeds. This is why feeders should always offer a large selection for our garden and balcony guests.
What to feed wild birds A good standard mix contains sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, raisins and chopped nuts, with a quality woodland bird feed with fine seeds for smaller bird species. For omnivores like the wren, robin and hedge sparrow, which primarily feed on insects, spiders and worms in the summer, and which can only eat very fine seeds, it is best to set out special soft feed with dried insects and other animal proteins. Tits, as well as robins and spotted woodpeckers also love the thick feeder rings and feeder balls. If you want to feed long-tailed tits, gold crests and tree creepers, simply smear some fatty feed (made from beef tallow, wheat bran and oats) on tree branches and bark. Peanuts are another popular and energy-rich snack. However, it is best to offer peanuts in special dispensers – otherwise crows and squirrels will take most of the food away from open feeding posts and leave little for the small birds. The news of a good feeding place, by the way, spreads very quickly among birds.
Tip Never set out leftover food, not even pieces of old bread. A bird’s stomach cannot digest this food properly and you might also attract rats and mice, which carry disease-causing germs. Birds also need something to drink when the weather is very cold and dry and there is no snow. You can set out water, ideally lukewarm twice a day in a watering dish that is not too shallow so that the water won’t freeze.
A roof over their heads There are all kinds of feeding houses. It is important that the feeding area is not too small, so that feathered friends don’t constantly get in each other’s way. The roof should also cover the feed to keep it dry if it rains or snows. Landing posts that stick out far enough for birds to land on are also popular. Delicate visitors like blue tits and wrens will stay away if there is too much action going on at a large feeding house. In this case, a smaller house (30 cm tall) just for these guests can provide them with the peace and quiet they need for meal times. Cover the feeding house with a pine tree branch and place it near the shrubbery where small birds have a clear view of the area so they can immediately identify approaching predators. The best location is near a shrub or fruit tree, as many birds come and take only a grain or two and then fly to a branch where they can eat in peace.
Maybe you could….. Here’s another idea that works well for birds, both on the balcony and in the garden: Turn a simple conifer (spruce or fir tree) into a festive buffet for tits and other small birds by hanging feeder rings, balls, netted nuts and apple pieces (for blackbirds) on the branches. The main feeding time for birds is in the morning right after sunrise, and in the evening just before sunset. In the morning birds need to replenish their depleted energy reserves; in the evening they stock up on energy for cold and icy nights.
And don’t forget To avoid accidents with glass panes, never place feeders right next to windows! Call into your local store to see our full range of wild bird products and get expert advice from our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.