The Curious Tale of How Birds Survive Winter Months

birds eatingThere’s nothing sweeter than watching your feathered friends stop by the window to have a snack from a bird feeder you bought in a UK gardening store. But it’s important to protect them during the dead of winter. Wintertime for birds means not enough bugs, seeds or food and frozen water. It’s also a thanksgiving season for predatory owls and hawks.

You need to keep feeders well stocked and protect birds from predators during the winter months. Here are more winter care tips for your garden birds:

What They Should Eat

Cold weather increases your birds’ caloric requirements. During winter, there are no insects flying around, while nuts, fruits and seeds are covered in snow. Some birds eat dormant insects they find in the crevices of tree barks. To help them stash food before winter, buy seeds mixes and berry feeders as early as summer. Not all birds like the same food, so if you have a range of birds in your garden, it’s advisable to put a varied selection of food.

Where to Put Them

Your feathered friends will only come to their trusty bird feeder when they feel safe, so install where they can easily fly to and have clear visibility of the garden. If possible, place it no more than 2 metres from trees, shrubs or hedges. If you have cats or dogs, avoid putting the feeder above ground, where your pets could easily attack the birds.

How to Keep Them Hydrated

Dehydration is a bigger threat to birds than starvation. Although birds can eat snow, this takes them more energy than to drink unfrozen water. It isn’t only important for hydration, but helps birds preen their feathers. Without proper preening, their feathers won’t stay aligned and positioned. Feathers out of alignment create gaps in insulation, making birds lose body heat fast during winter.

Filled with high-energy food and enough water, your garden birds will make it through spring and winter. A handful of feeders strategically placed in your garden will ensure that your birds will be safe during winter. After all, the birds that eat the most food have a better chance to survive.

Resources:

http://www.longacres.co.uk/
http://www.saga.co.uk/lifestyle/gardening/masterclass/winter-care-for-garden-birds.aspx
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/how-to-attract-hummingbirds_n_1521925.html