The bird feeder – a feast for friends
Bird feeders offer a great way to make new friends. Hung outside your window, in your garden or in the park, they will attract birds closer to you so you can observe them better. Besides, by offering them nutritious food rich in energy you will help them survive the harsh winter conditions.
When do birds need supplementary feeding?
Songbirds have no problem finding enough food during the summer. In winter, however, the ground is covered with a thick blanket of snow and finding food becomes harder. In this season you can help the birds by offering them a tasty, timely meal.
Feeders must be brought out with the first snow fall; they need to be filled regularly until the end of March. It is important to fill them with seeds daily because once the birds discover the new source of food they will rely upon it.
Why do you need to feed the birds?
Food is the most important resource for birds during the winter. Finding enough food allows them to keep their body warmth and survive in the harsh, cold conditions. The lower the temperatures, the more food birds need. Even birds like the White Stork can survive through the winter in Bulgaria given they find enough food.
What guests will your bird feeder attract?
Generally there are two types of bird feeders – hanging and fixed. Not all birds feel at home on a hanging feeder – it is frequented mostly by tits and other insect-eating songbirds. Pigeons for example avoid hanging feeders as they prefer to have stable ground underfoot; therefore they would feed at fixed feeders.
The location of your home also determines the spectrum of species that would come to your feeder. The most frequent guests come from the tits family: Great, Blue, Long-tailed, Marsh, Willow, and Coal Tit. Other visitors include Nuthatches, Great Spotted and Syrian Woodpeckers, Greenfinches.
The seeds that fall off the feeder on the ground below will be appreciated by Hawfinches, Bramblings, Chaffinches, Jays, pigeons and sparrows.
What foods are good for wild birds?
As insects disappear during the winter, seeds become a main constituent of the bird diet. They are the preferred food for species such as Nuthatch, species of tits and sparrows, pigeons, Chaffinches etc. Sunflower seeds, millet and wheat are among the most suitable foods for birds. Always remember that the sunflower seeds – or any seeds and nuts for that matter – that you put in your feeder must be raw and unsalted.
Where should I put my feeder?
The best place to hang your feeder is at about two meters (6.5 ft.) height from the ground. You can hang it on the lower branches of a tree. Choose a spot with enough open space around so that the birds can easily fly to and from the feeder. Suitable locations would be the local park, your garden or even on your balcony or outside a window.
- When choosing the spot for your feeder make sure that the bird visitors are safe from cats there!
- Put the feeder at least two meters (6.5 ft.) away from any windows as birds could fly into the panes.
- Use a bird guide to identify the species which attend your feeder and keep track of them in a journal.
- Do NOT give any roasted, fried or salted seeds and nuts nor any spicy foods.
- Enjoy watching the birds on your feeder but do not disturb them.