Feeding in winter

What and how to feed birds in a bird feeder in winter?

Winter is a time when nature is dormant and few plants bear fruit. Herbivores, including birds, find it very difficult to feed themselves at this time of year, so people try to help birds with food. When feeding the birds, you should first ask what kind of food is right for them.

Each species is adapted to a certain type of feeding, unwanted food can affect the health of the birds.

What kind of birds come to the feeding station?

The main problem for birds during the cold season is not the cold at all, since their plumage protects them from it. But to maintain a fairly high body temperature, about + 40°, it helps them to feed. The lower the outside temperature, the more heat the bird loses. To get it, it needs more food. In addition, the day is much shorter in winter, and at dusk birds can no longer find their own food. Therefore, they have to search diligently for food during the day, and humans help them to do it.

In winter, all kinds of birds can be seen at feeders. It all depends on the food, because each bird prefers its own type of food. The most frequent visitors of such street canteens are, of course, tits and sparrows. The common tit is a rather active bird. It is able to ride on the most difficult feeders and even those that swing. Tits love sunflower seeds. They find these seeds out of a mixture of seeds, and scatter the rest on the ground, which is actively used by other birds and picked them up.

The great tit is a very grateful bird. In winter they feed it, in summer it will return the favor and take care of your garden. One pair has been known to take 40 fruit trees under its protection. It collects all kinds of parasites from them. Birds use it to feed their chicks. Amazingly, she feeds them about 350 times a day. There are other species of tits that fly in the winter to feed birds. These are the tit – a bird with a blue cap, the puffin – a small black bird with white additions, the mosquito – a small tit with a white crown. But these guests are rarer and less active.

The sparrow is another inveterate visitor to the feeder. They are noisy and defiant birds, the undisputed leaders of feeders, but they are also invaluable in the fight against vermin. The Chinese once came to the conclusion that sparrows steal large quantities of rice from the fields. They declared these birds the national pest and wiped out almost all of them. After a few years, masses of disease-causing pests appeared on their plantations, after which the sparrows had to be artificially imported and bred again. Sparrows usually live in the city in winter and fly to the countryside in summer. The presence of these birds shows the high ecological purity of the area. By the way, there are so few of them in London that they are included in the Red Book.

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The bullfinch is also an active visitor to the bird canteen. The beautiful red finch is known to all. For women, the gray one is less attractive. The bullfinch is an inhabitant of forests and parks, a fast and economical bird. Frightened, he is sure to take a few grains with him and hide them in the bark of a tree as a reserve. Very often the woodpecker can be found at the feeder. He likes peanuts and other nuts.

And also among the guests of the feeder in winter note the following birds:

  • Mallard;
  • jay;
  • Pigeon;
  • Food;
  • Waxwing;
  • crow;
  • rook;
  • magpie.

What can you put in?

Seeds for birds are varied. Most often all kinds of grain are put in bird feeders. It is acceptable to give the birds the following types of grain:

  • Wheat;
  • Oats;
  • Oatmeal;
  • Pearl barley;
  • Hercules (flakes only);
  • Corn;
  • Millet.

The groups can be poured raw, cooked until cooked or semi-cooked. You can also make an assortment by mixing several of their varieties. To ensure that all the ingredients are chosen correctly and do no harm, buy special mixes for birds at pet stores. Sunflower seeds are a must-have part of bird food. Many birds love them. These seeds are high in fat and therefore high in calories, making them a good source of energy. In addition to sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and watermelon seeds can be placed in bird feeders. They should be crushed beforehand.

Seeds of other plants will also be suitable for feeding birds. But they should be collected in advance. To feed birds with quinoa seeds, plants are collected, tied into small bunches and kept until winter. In cold weather they can be put in the ground or in the snow, and everyone can enjoy their treats. Seeds of ash and maple are also suitable for birds. In the fall, they are collected and stored, and in winter they fill their feeders. Birds do not abhor the seeds of such plants as nettles, burdock and horsetail. Many prefer acorns and all sorts of nuts: peanuts and hazelnuts. A special preference is given to hawthorn and mountain ash. These berries are collected and dried in season.

Of plant food birds can be offered apples or carrots. Also, feeders are filled with dried insects and their larvae.

Birds with high california and to increase the energy value add bait, lard and meat. They are used in raw form. Fat can also be used: beef, chicken, pork, mutton and horse fat. It is mixed with muesli and makes a good porridge, a favorite of birds. And finely chopped bacon rinds they love, too. But fats should be used in doses, as an excess of them can lead to liver deterioration in birds.

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What else the birds get is bread, but only white bread. Black varieties are categorically contraindicated. It can be battered or used as an ingredient in the preparation of bird cakes. To do this, take breadcrumbs and sunflower seeds, pour them in oil and freeze them, and then catch them on a string. Crumbs of white bread are also mixed with low-fat cottage cheese. Allowed to give birds boiled eggs and shredded shells from them. Butter is placed directly in the feeder of one piece.

It is worth considering the following mandatory requirements for seeds for birds:

  • Do not salt;
  • Do not fry;
  • Do not add spices and spices.

Below is a table with the food preferences of the most frequent visitors to the bird canteen.

Sunflower seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, lard, meat, fat, oatmeal, dried berries, butter, nuts.

Sama, oatmeal, wheat, barley, bread crumbs, rice, mealworm.

Rowal, hawthorn, watermelon and melon seeds, maple seeds.

Sama, bread, oatmeal, barley, wheat, rice, oats, millet.

Acorns, peanuts, bread, nuts, watermelon and melon.

Bedworms, watermelon and melon seeds, sunflower seeds.

Flourworm, bloodworm.

Sama, oatmeal, berries, butter, lard.

Important: All birds are suitable for eating eggshells.

What should not be fed?

To limit the birds, the basic rules should be followed.

  • It is strictly forbidden to give salty foods: seeds, nuts, lard and meat. Since birds do not have sebaceous glands, salts are excreted from their bodies only by their kidneys. With an excess of salt, these organs will quickly stop working, which can even lead to the death of the birds.
  • Fried foods (nuts, seeds) are dangerous because the fats change their formula. This harms the liver.
  • Black bread and millet are also forbidden. It has no shell, like millet, so the grain oxidizes quickly in a humid environment. Harmful bacteria and toxins collect on the surface. Black bread is dangerous to birds because it causes increased fermentation in the intestines, which even leads to an overgrowth of weeds in the intestines. The mistake in everything is its high acidity and humidity. And rye is also poorly digested in the bird’s body.
  • Pits of cherries, apricots, plums, almonds contain hydrocyanic acid. Even in small amounts it is toxic for birds, so such products are not allowed in feeders.
  • The list of products unacceptable for birds from potatoes is continued. Raw potatoes are high in solanine, which is poisonous to birds. Cooked potatoes contain a lot of solanine, which has no effect on digestion.
  • Canned potatoes are not good because of the presence of various additives: preservatives, salt, sugar, vinegar and spices. Also, you should not put cat and dog food in the feeder. They contain yeast and soy.
  • Rice is bad for birds because it swells up in the stomach and makes them suffer.

Important: We do not offer the birds no grains.

Feeding Rules

In order to lure birds to the feeder, you need to understand what to feed them and what not to feed them. This is especially true for small woodland birds such as chirps, woodpeckers, swifts, and jays. Feeding involves having food in the feeder at all times. At the same time, PTASH begin to get lazy and no longer fly for food, but feed exclusively from official feeders. The feeder usually always contains a monotonous food. If a bird regularly eats the same foods, especially those with fats, it is not good for its body. Such people are usually easy to recognize. They are larger than others and dry springs. By the way, this process has to do with keeping warm when the birds are in poor health.

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If you are only fed, the rest of the time you have to take care of yourself. In nature, they eat insects that hide in the bark of trees in the winter, and some seeds. And humans eat fat, grains, nuts, and so on. And you get quite a varied diet. Feeding supports the birds, but it also keeps them out of the field. Therefore, it is worth getting your feathered friends used to feeding them 1 or 2 times a day. You should fill the plate at a certain time. It’s better to do it before sunset, so that feathered guests will be full by evening. It is not recommended to feed birds systematically. The fact is that they get used to such a good deed very quickly. It is enough for 4-5 days of regular feeding, and the bird becomes a regular guest. And if you go somewhere, it will waste precious hours on a useless flight to your home.

Feeding houses are installed on trees, but so that they don’t attract street animals: cats, dogs and at a height so that they can’t reach the bird’s food. In addition, the food can be placed in another way. Pieces of lard and meat, berries are strung on a rope and hung on branches. Animal fat is also poured on the branches. It freezes and the birds peck for it.

If the “Cafe” for birds is installed outside near a private house, it is better to do it outside the building. Such visitors are very sloppy and scatter feed in different directions. Since there are different types of feed in the feeder, they become breeding grounds for dirt, bacteria and parasites. It is necessary to keep them clean and clean them regularly, otherwise there is a risk of infecting the birds.

It remains to be seen when to start feeding the birds. Snow and glaze serve as a special proof here, because under such a cover it is much more difficult to get feed. And also the first colds and frosts, when the amount of food in nature decreases, and the need for it in the bird’s body increases significantly. It turns out that feeding birds is not an easy task. Nothing can be poured into the feed.

In addition, birds are indiscriminate in their food and do not understand what can and cannot be eaten. So be careful when choosing bird food so they don’t hurt you.

For information on how to feed birds correctly in winter, watch the following video.

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What to feed birds in winter?

What do we feed birds in winter?

Scientists believe that in cold winters, eight to nine out of ten mays die. One feeder can save up to 50 tits from being killed in winter. At the same time, one tit per season saves up to 10 trees from pests, and one small tree supplies oxygen to three people. We tell you what, how, when and why to feed birds wintering in our latitudes.

Why feed birds

Because of the cold, birds lose a lot of heat. To stay warm, birds have to eat a lot, and they need much more food than they do in the summer. And the winter day is short, and it’s not easy to get food under the snow – more energy is expended. So feeding is very helpful.

Not to feed, but to nourish!

Pouring food into bird feeders in parks or under your window you have to know that you do not feed the birds, but only feed them.

When the bowl of food is constantly full, tits just stop looking for other food. A monotonous diet and even a high-fat diet leads to liver disease. Instead of benefit, we will cause irreparable harm, according to experts from the Rostov Biosphere Reserve. By holding the annual campaign “Feed the birds in winter,” you emphasize the reasonable use between man and nature.

What you can feed

Specialists of Visimsky Biosphere Reserve in the Sverdlovsk region told how to help birds survive the cold.

Birds can be fed:

– dried crumbs of white bread;

– unsalted raw vegetables – sunflower and pumpkin seeds, lard (beef and chicken fat), strung on a thin wire;

– grains: barley, millet, oats, wheat; oatmeal;

– butter, which is especially important for birds in cold weather;

– Fresh and dried fruits and berries;

– Nuts, cones, acorns. Seeds and nuts should be crushed in the cold, you can use a rolling pin.

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What foods should not be given to birds?

It’s like a strict diet! Nothing salty, fried or spicy!


– Rye bread, as the industrial yeast in it, if it gets into the bird’s stomach, can ferment and poison it;

– fresh white bread, as it contains a lot of protein and fat;

-Salty foods – lard, sunflower seeds, chips, etc;

– fried and smoked foods, as the liver of birds does not digest such food;

– old, spoiled grain – rancid, with bugs, etc. – This can lead to poisoning and death of the bird;

– Millet – unlike millet, millet has no husks, which leads to toxic substances, pathogens.

When to feed.

It is important to feed the birds regularly. Fill the feeder once a day – early in the morning or late in the evening – so they can find their own food throughout the day.

If you can’t feed the birds regularly, don’t make your own feeder, but stock up on ready-made ones in parks. Don’t throw food on the ground so it doesn’t get covered with snow and keep the area clean.

More detailed advice and interesting facts you will find in the methodical guide “Feeding the birds in winter” by Anna Mostova, published on the Greenpeace website.

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