Many people think of feeding the birds only during the winter months, however, shortages in natural food supplies can happen at any time of the year.
Think about the wild birds during National Pet Month – they can provide great companionship too!
Now that Spring is officially here and the sun has planned a rare appearance in the weather forecast, it is a great time to get outside with the children and encourage them to engage with nature. Watching and feeding the wild birds is a great way to do just that.
Many people think of feeding the birds during the winter months, however, shortages in natural food supplies can happen at any time of the year. Supplementary feeding in Spring is important too because it provides nutritious food for adults while they're working hard to find insects and grubs for their growing young.
Here are some tips:
1. Different species of birds have different requirements. Some species are ground feeders (e.g. Robin and Dunnock) while others prefer to feed from hanging feeders (e.g. Blue Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker). A range of foods and feeders are available from pet shops, supermarkets and garden centres.
2. Do not feed loose whole nuts, dry hard foods or large chunks of bread as these are a choke hazard for the young chicks.
3. Peanuts should only be fed through suitable feeders.
4. Provide clean, fresh water all year round.
5. Be patient… if it takes a few days before you see any birds, don't be discouraged. The birds will visit regularly once they discover the food and convince themselves it is not a trap, which may take a few days.
6. Remember, good hygiene is really important. Feeders and water containers, need to be cleaned regularly. National Pet Month trustee, PFMA share some hygiene advice on their website: https://www.pfma.org.uk/birds-hygiene
PFMA also has some great worksheets and posters for parents and teachers: https://www.pfma.org.uk/bird-education