The Benefits of Having a Bird Feeder and How To Look After The Birds This Winter
Winter can be a challenging time for British wildlife. With ever-changing weather conditions and fluctuating outdoor temperatures – gathering food becomes increasingly difficult for all animals, but particularly for wild birds.
Here at The Sign Maker, we believe that looking out for the wildlife is important. As a result of this, we feed the birds here on-site using a range of feed and feeders. We also stock a range of beautiful feeders and birdbaths in our online shop for budding bird-lovers. We want to enable you to join us in feeding the birds throughout the year.
Unsure where to start? This handy guide should be a useful tool for navigating your way through the how’s and why’s of bird feeding.
Why Look After The Birds
To keep it simple, birds are more likely to thrive over winter if they are well fed. Research has shown that smaller birds should be eating up to a third of their body weight each day to make back the energy that they lose trying to stay alive in winter. Providing a regular and sustainable source of nourishment can make a real difference to a bird’s chance of survival.
Benefits for the birds aside, we too can benefit from feeding the birds! Feeding birds all year round assists us with weed and insect control as well as increasing flower pollination to assist the next generation of plants and flowers, which, in turn, benefits us.
Having birds in the garden can have educational benefits too as you learn about the different types of birds and their behaviours. You can enjoy trialling different food types and even making your own fat balls for them to eat!
Bird feeding can also be good for our mental well-being, particularly in the colder months where we are likely to spend less time outside. Bird watching can be a fun yet mindful activity that can be done from the comfort of your home. Some people enjoy tracking the birds that they spot in a journal or bird spotting book – this can be particularly enjoyable if you have a variety of birds arriving in your garden or if you have a local woodland to go and explore too.
Top Tips For Bird Feeding
You might be wondering where to begin. Below, we have listed some things you might like to consider when starting out in bird feeding. From choosing the right feeder to creating a routine that helps you to best meet the birds’ needs, we hope this helps to make caring for the wild birds in your garden easy, fun and efficient.
Buying a Bird Feeder
There are numerous bird feeders available for you to purchase, but ultimately the decision is one of personal preference and it is reliant on the type of feed you wish to put out for the birds. At The Sign Maker Shop, we have a range of different feeders including feeders made from cast iron, decorative feeders and traditional bird feeders. It can be a good idea to provide a variety of feeders in your garden to cater for the different types of wild birds that may arrive.
At The Sign Maker Shop, we also have a range of birdbaths. A reliable source of water in winter can be just as hard for birds to find as food is. By providing a birdbath, you’re enabling them to keep hydrated and to keep themselves clean should their normal water provision freeze over or dry up (depending on the season)!
The feeders and bird baths should be placed at a fair distance from your home to avoid any window collisions. Ensuring that the feeders feel sheltered and protected can help the birds feel that your garden is a safe place to enjoy their meal. Providing nesting boxes can also help the birds to make your garden their home.
Choosing Bird Feed
There are many types of bird feed on the market making it hard at times to choose the right feed. Different birds will generally prefer different feeds. Providing a variety of feed in your garden at any one time can encourage a wider range of birds into your garden and also help your garden to cater to a large range of needs. Fat balls are a popular choice of bird food (both homemade and shop-bought). Popular feeds also include sunflower seeds, pinhead oatmeal, nyjer seeds, crushed or grated nuts and mealworms. The RSPB has an extensive guide about which feeds will attract specific types of birds and further advice about what is best for the birds.
Alongside buying bird feed, planting a range of bushes, shrubs and trees that can provide fruit and berries naturally for the surrounding wildlife is just as important and valuable in and out of the winter months.
It is important to consider maintaining a regular feeding routine for your garden and the birds it inhabits. We would encourage you to feed the birds twice daily in the winter months (early morning and afternoon). Keeping these feeding times consistent provides the birds with a reliable source of food for the wild birds that come to feed in your garden. You may need to adjust the overall quantity of the food you provide each day based on the demand that is there.
Overall, we believe that feeding the birds is an important thing to do all year round. Bird feeding has great benefits for us and for the birds while also being a simple way to engage with local wildlife. Bird feeders, bird feed and birdbaths aren’t always something that someone would consider buying for themselves which is why they make great gifts too (available online at The Sign Maker Shop)!
This Winter, find ways to engage with the wild birds around you and invest in them to help them through the colder seasons.