Helping our feathered friends

It may be white a lovey outside, but Winter Birdswinter has left trees barren for birds to feed from.

We can help to provide these birds with food, which also gives you a chance to observe wild birds at close range.

Birds are most likely to eat where they feel safe. Make sure that there is nearby cover to which birds can quickly escape from predators, such as cats.

If the feeders are near a window, alter the appearance of the glass to help reduce window collisions.

Many birds will feed at more than one level, but they do have their preferences.

  • Ground level: mourning doves, sparrows, towhees, juncos
  • Table level: cardinals, finches, and jays Hanging feeders: titmice, goldfinches, chickadees
  • Tree trunks: woodpeckers, nuthatches, wrens

Plastic feeders are best because they are easy to clean. Smaller feeders empty out more quickly, so there’s less chance of wet, spoiled seeds.

Rain can be a problem, so make sure the feeder has drainage holes, and consider placing a plastic dome on top.

Remember that birds also need water year-round for drinking and bathing, so set up a birdbath. The surface should be easy to clean, and there should be a gently sloping shallow end. Place the birdbath away from the feeders to keep the water from being contaminated.

Providing food for wild birds will help the winter pass more comfortably for them, while adding interest and activity to your winter days. Come spring, as the nesting season unfolds, you’ll have the added pleasure of recognising many of the birds as individuals.