National Bird Feeding Month
24th February 2021
February is National Bird Feeding month in the United States. As we’re all homebound due to the current lockdown, we thought that we’d follow the example from across the pond and offer you some information on how to help feed your feathered garden visitors!
In the winter, birds have it rough. With sparse natural resources compared to other seasons of the year, feeding their families can prove difficult. That’s where all of us can pitch in and help out. February is the perfect time to get involved, whether you’re an old hand or a bird-feeding newbie.
Know who’s who
It is important to be aware of what birds are visiting your garden before selecting food. With different dietary requirements depending on the species, you need to make sure you have the right nibbles for your visitors!
The most common UK garden birds include robins, tits, starlings, blackbirds, house sparrows and many more. Salty food can be poisonous to small birds – they also find cooking fat or polyunsaturated fats hard to use as energy, therefore margarine and vegetable oil should be avoided.
While bread is not harmful and does fill them up, it has little nutritious value to birds and is therefore not recommended. Milk also strongly disagrees with birds and can cause serious digestive problems.
What to feed them
During the spring and summer months, birds require high protein foods, especially while they are moulting. Only feed selected foods at this time of year.
Dried mealworms are a fantastic source of protein for birds. Available from Home Bargains and Poundland, these can be scattered on the ground or placed in a bird feeder all year round. Suet balls are another high energy snack for our chirpy chums – these can also be purchased from Poundland and can be placed in a feeder or bird table.
Though they do not sweat, in order to remain hydrated, birds need to drink regularly. To keep their plumage in good condition, these cheerful animals love a bath, even in the winter – so make sure your garden’s basin of water is clean and free of ice!
Encouraging birds into your garden
Birds such as robins, sparrows, blue tits, chaffinches and greenfinches will be happy to use hanging feeders. If you’re looking to invite our feathered friends to a back garden tea party, be sure to grab Home Bargain’s adorable “Tea Cup & Saucer Bird Feeder”. With drainage holes to keep the food dry, the feeder is designed to resemble a cup and saucer – making it all the more wonderful to see beautiful birds quirkily enjoying food in your garden.
For ground feeders, such as blackbirds, thrushes and starlings, you could scatter food under the bird table (if cats are not regular visitors to your garden). Whichever feeder you go for, make sure to keep up a good level of hygiene. Clean the feeders and the surrounding areas regularly to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. If possible, don’t bring them into your house and always wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Cleanliness is vital, or feeding may do more harm than good.
If you want to explore Hertfordshire’s wildlife beyond your back garden, why not take a socially distanced stroll through Norton Common? The woodland and scrub area is a particular favourite of birds including the house sparrow, starling, wren, green and great spotted woodpecker, sparrowhawk, tawny owl and many more.
We’re proud that Letchworth is an environment in which wildlife can successfully thrive. After exploring the nature of our wonderful town, be sure to stop by Garden Square Shopping Centre for your daily essentials!