For most wild birds a quality habitat (the place where the species lives) is determined by four main factors:
In winter food is of the utmost importance for the birds. In the cold months of the year it is harder for them to find insects and other invertebrates that form the basis of their diet. By providing high-calorie, energy-rich food we can be sure that they will stay close to us all winter long. The quantity of food a bird needs is determined by its energy value.
How can I help birds in winter?
Bird feeders – set the table for your feathered friends
Bird feeders are an excellent way to find new friends. Hang a feeder on your balcony, in the garden or in the park and enjoy the birds that come to feed on it up close. By providing safe, calorie-rich food you help the birds to survive the winter.
Why should I place a feeder?
Food is the most important resource for birds in the winter. Finding enough of it helps them preserve their body temperature and survive the harsh conditions outside. The lower the temperature, the more food birds need. Even a white stork can survive the winter in Bulgaria as long as it has enough food.
When should I place my feeder?
Bird feeders should be taken out with the first snow and should be kept regularly stocked until the end of March, as birds get used to this new source of food and count on it.
Types of feeders and the birds they attract
- hanging feeder
Not all birds would perch on a hanging feeder with ease; tits and nuthatches would use it.
- stationary feeder
It is suitable for sparrows, finches and pigeons, as they prefer to feed on a stable base.
The location of your home influences the species diversity on your feeder too. You can expect to see most species of tits – great, blue, long-tailed, marsh and coal tit. Nuthatches, great spotted and Syrian woodpeckers and greenfinches will also drop by on your balcony to check for food.
The seeds that fall on the ground will be welcomed by hawfinches, chaffinches, bramblings, jays, pigeons and sparrows.
What food should I provide for the birds?
As insects disappear during the winter, seeds become the staple diet for the birds. They are the main source of energy for species like the nuthatch, tits, sparrows, pigeons, finches, etc. Sunflower seeds, millet and wheat are particularly good as bird food. Both shelled and unshelled sunflower seeds are good for your feeder.
All seeds and nuts you provide for the birds should be raw and unsalted!
Where should I place the feeder?
The best position for your bird feeder is at a height of about two meters, on a tree, on your balcony or hanging from any suitable stand. The bird feeder should be out in the open so that the birds can fly to and from it without any difficulty. You can place the feeder in the park nearby your house, on your balcony or on your window sill.
- When you place the feeder make sure that there is no risk for the birds to be caught by cats!
- Place the feeder 2 m away from windows to avoid collision with the glass for the birds.
- Be patient! Don’t rush! Birds will need several days (up to two weeks and sometimes even more) to find the feeder. After they make sure it is not a trap, they will become regulars.
- Try to identify the birds that come to the feeder, with the help of a field guide.
- Under no circumstances should you give the birds roasted, fried or salted nuts, nor spicy foods.
- Try not to disturb the birds as you watch them.