It’s a good time to be thinking about our feathered friends in this harsh winter weather, so I borrowed the post below from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds website. You can view their site via the link given at the bottom.
If you’re wondering about the cost of feeding the birds, by the way, you’ll find most of the local Pound Shops in the Walsall area and Home Bargains in Bloxwich selling bags of suitable bird seed, fat balls and feeders for a quid apiece, so there’s no excuse not to do your bit in your garden!
From the RSPB:
“With sub-zero temperatures suddenly upon us, the RSPB are advising people to make sure their bird feeders and tables are full of high-energy foods.
Richard James, one of the RSPB’s wildlife advisors, said:
‘The sudden drop in temperatures across the UK will have been a big shock to birds’ systems after spending the past couple of months with few worries in terms of food availability.
‘Thanks to the recent mild weather, many natural food sources have been readily available and water has been easy to come by. Now the snow and ice are here birds will need all the help they can get to survive the winter.’
You can feed birds calorie-rich foods like mixed seed, nyjer seed, fatballs, suet sprinkles, sunflower seeds and good-quality peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps like mild grated cheese, cooked rice and porridge oats.
A supply of water is also essential for bathing and preening. In freezing conditions birds become more dependent on water provided in gardens, since many natural sources are frozen over.
The most effective way to keep the water in your garden from freezing is to pop in a light ball that will be moved by even a gentle breeze and keep a small amount of water ice free – a ping-pong ball is ideal. Alternatively, pour on hot water to melt the ice to make sure the birds can get to it.”
See http://www.rspb.org.uk/ for further information.
Also check out the British Trust for Ornithology if you’re seriously interested in studying birds for science.