Birds need high-energy food in winter, as they burn it up quickly trying to keep themselves warm. Because food is so scarce in winter, once birds find your bird feeder they’ll visit regularly. Top up your feeders regularly so the birds don’t use up their precious energy on a wasted journey. They’ll also be grateful for a daily supply of fresh water for drinking and bathing.
Food high in oils helps birds build up their fat reserves. Here are some of the best foods to give:
When you’re putting out food for birds, there are a few things that you should definitely avoid. Cooking fat, polyunsaturated kinds of margarine and vegetable oils are not good for birds. Don’t use dry cat or dog food, as birds can choke on it. And never give birds milk, as it will give them an upset stomach, although they can eat fermented dairy products such as cheese.
Deciduous trees like hawthorn and rowan are excellent for a bird-friendly garden, providing tasty berries in autumn, and in winter their fallen leaves are home to insects that birds can feed on. Prickly evergreen shrubs like pyracantha and holly are a double bonus for birds - the thorns protect the birds from predators and the berries are a handy source of food. Conifers like yew and pine also make good shelter plants for birds in winter.
Look after the birds in your garden this winter and they’ll be back to bring you joy in spring and summer. Visit our garden centre for everything you need to take care of birds this winter!