Winter is upon us and is a tough time for our garden birds. Their natural food source is depleted, especially if the ground is frozen or covered in snow.
We can help our birds survive these months by providing them with a regular supply of food and fresh water. However it is important to follow a few guidelines to ensure that our birds are not only nourished but, as best we can, kept healthy.
Hygiene is a top priority. Many viral, parasitic, fungal and protozoan diseases can occur in wild birds and by implementing hygienic measures and avoiding feeding large numbers of birds in the same place we can minimise the risk. If possible feeders placed in different locations, preferably sheltered areas, will avoid this.
Keep the area beneath feeders swept and clear of a build up of food. Never feed mouldy food and keep peanut feeders clean because mould forms easily at the base of the feeder if it gets wet.
Birds need water, not only for drinking but to keep their feathers healthy which ensures they have good insulation during the cold days and nights. The water needs to be changed daily and the container scrubbed clean.
Many birds prefer to feed off the ground but it is important to remove any uneaten food at the end of the day.
Observe personal hygiene and always wash your hands .after handling or cleaning feeders,
It is really important that if you begin feeding birds that you continue to do so each day. They will become dependent on the food supply you provide and if you suddenly stop they will have to waste valuable energy looking for a new source of food. This could be life threatening to them in severe weather.
Birds play such a vital role in our natural ecosystem. Please look after them.