FEEDING WILD BIRDS

NUTHATCHNUTHATCH
pic: courtesy of P.Kuzwiar

We have to feed our wild birds - we are putting so much pressure on the land, we drive on it, build on it, play on it, garden it, farm it, and increasingly we are leaving less and less space for everything else, birds included.

The trick however is not to feed any old how but to feed in a way which will give these creatures the maximum nourishment in a form which is appropriate for the time of year. In the spring, they have to build up their strength quickly to survive, to nest build and to get into good breeding condition so they can produce and rear strong and healthy chicks. In the summer, the parents are into recovery, they’re tired, they lack energy, and they need to get fit for the autumn and winter months ahead, while their broods need to build up strength generally.

 

COAL TITCOAL TIT
pic: courtesy of Mick Freakley

At every stage, what they eat and the effort they have to put into finding the right food is crucial. It’s all about food type and quality.

A problem here. Food type and quality can vary enormously, and there are some foods which are simply poor quality - husks and chaff and not much else - and others which are not only insufficiently cleaned during manufacture but are contaminated with fungal toxins and infections even before they are packaged. Hungry birds will reject this stuff unless they have no other option at all.

It’s important for all birds that the foods prepared specifically for them will both give them good nutrition and be safe. This is why our feeds are cleaned to a purity level of 99.9%, with seed and nut types being cleaned individually, why any raw materials which are suspect are rejected, and why we don’t use additives to clean and polish. We also constantly monitor and test all feed types. We are the only people who do this.

 

SPARROWSPARROW

SOME TIPS...

  • We recommend putting table top and hanging feeders in a secluded place, off the ground and away - if possible - from fences and trees to inhibit marauding cats - feeding stations are a good idea if they are constructed as a single thin strong pole with branches because they are generally difficult for cats to climb
  • and make sure water is always available (sorry to preach - we know it's common sense but people do ask!)
  • the areas where birds are fed [excellent idea to have more than one place] really do need to be kept clean - this will stop contamination and infections
  • use a specific wild bird disinfectant (look for the JJ label) and feed little and often - this means the food won’t get left to go mouldy
  • DON’T feed - polyunsaturated margarines/ fats, used or stale vegetable oil (if it’s not fit for humans it won’t be fit for birds, chuck it out), milk, desiccated coconut, salted food

and

  • keep to a feeding time table - they will be expecting you.