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Feeding the birds provides a lifeline during winter

The winter months provide a challenge for birds, as frosts, winds and snow can make it hard to find natural food supplies. Some smaller birds need to eat 30-40% of their body weight to survive the winter and supplementary feeding can provide a lifeline.

Feeding the birds provides a lifeline during winter

PFMA research shows that around half of the UK population with outdoor space feed the birds during winter – 51%[1] for city dwellers and rises to 57% in rural communities. However, recent reports[2] highlight the decline in the wild bird population and there is scope for improvement.

Nicole Paley, PFMA adds: “The winter months provide a challenge for birds, as frosts, winds and snow can make it hard to find natural food supplies. Some smaller birds need to eat 30-40% of their body weight to survive the winter and supplementary feeding can provide a lifeline. We have some great advice here: https://www.pfma.org.uk/wild-birds on how to support the local wildlife:”

·        During the winter, birds need high energy, high fat foods such as fat / suet balls and sunflower seeds.  

·        Different species of birds have different requirements. Some species are ground feeders (e.g. Robin and Dunnock) while others prefer to feed from hanging feeders (e.g. Blue Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker). There is a wide range of products on the market suitable for hanging feeders, bird tables and ground feeding.

·        Birds need to drink and bathe daily – even when it’s cold – help birds by providing a fresh supply of water.

·        Think about other animals in the household. Foods such as raisins, currants, sultanas and grapes are poisonous for pets.   

·        Hygiene is important, leftover food should be cleared daily and feeding stations, water containers and baths kept clean.

·        Think about location – provide shelter from harsh weather and in an open, safe place away from hiding predators.

With the checklist completed, you can now sit back and await your guests – be patient, it may take a few days. Remember you don’t need a garden to feed the birds – a balcony or window will also work.

 


[1] Research Solour Consulting 2017 

 

[2] https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/where-have-all-the-birds-gone/is-the-number-of-birds-in-decline/

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