Do you enjoy feeding the wild birds
May 17, 2010 1:26pm CST
Many of our once common garden birds are in decline. We gardeners can do a great deal to help our feathered friends through the cold, hungry days of winter. November is the most important month to start feeding, when nature’s autumn harvest is beginning to wear thin. But once you’ve started (and I hope you have), you must continue until at least April, when they tend to disperse to their favourite breeding grounds. Meantime, they have become dependant on you. Don’t let them down. However, it is now generally recognised that feeding beyond April is important, and indeed there is much evidence to support year round feeding. Supplementary food in the breeding season can sometimes prove vital. Traditionally, birdfood has been scraps and wasteproducts. But more recent research has shown just how harmful this can be. Some products sold were (and still are if you buy the cheap stuff) toxic to birds. Our feeding must emulate nature as closely as possible – ie natural products without chemicals which are already doing so much harm to our native bird population. When feeding, in practical terms, remember that there are two distinct feeding types. Clinging feeders (T i ts and Finches, for example), and ground feeders like Thrushes, Blackbirds and Robins. Obviously, then, you need to provide for both – by scattering food on the ground, and providing hanging feeders for the “clingers”. A compromise is the old traditional bird table, which offers a platform for ground feeders (above cat height, which is an advantage!), but is also accessible by virtue of height, to clingers. A useful point to remember, though, is to site your bird table, or your hanging feeders, in an open location, not within the spread of shrubs or trees. Birds will feed more happily in an open location, where they can keep one eye out for predators. I’ve kept the most important bit till last. Water. We never think, do we? We fill the bird table and scatter seed on the frozen ground. But we forget that birds can’t drink ice. Birds will survive for days without food, but like us they can’t survive for long without water. So place a shallow dish of water on the bird table, and another on the ground nearby, during those freezing days when all around the garden is ice. And don’t forget to change them when they freeze. And if you have a garden pond, melt a patch of ice as you would if you have fish. That’s at least another option for them
17 May 10
I think feeding the birds is an excellent idea. We don't do it as our dog might go for the birds, but our elderly neighbour feeds them and has a proper bird table, puts out different foods for them and fresh water every day. It's lovely for her as she lives alone and it gives her an interest too and she enjoys watching all the different types of birds coming in her garden. But would you believe it, two of the women in the street have rang the council and got a petition up to stop her!! They say it encourages pigeons who then go into these women's gardens and mess them! One of these women lives 2 doors away, the other must be 4 or 5 houses down. It's ridiculous! We're right next door and never have any bird mess in our garden. I think it's awful harrassing an old lady like that. I told her to carry on, she's not doing anyone any harm. Now the council have told her the bird seed is encouraging rats!!!