Author: Suse Coon

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Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 at 2:43 am
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Nature

Don’t Stop Feeding Birds in Winter

Birds are high energy creatures that require diverse diets. They like to eat a wide variety of foods including fruits, nuts, insects and flowers. As much as they love supplemental feeding, this forms a small part of their diet so you don’t need to worry that the birds will become dependant on your feeder for their survival. However, if you feed the birds during the summer months don’t suddenly stop in the winter. They will have become used to finding a food supply in your garden and they will appreciate your feeder much more through the cold, fruitless winter months.

What type of food you are going to feed the birds will help you decide upon what type of feeder you want for your birds. If you would like to feed them suet as well as birdseed, you will need a wire cage for the suet as well as a tray for the seed. If you will occasionally be offering fruits and vegetables, you will need an open tray. Pet shops have a wide variety of feeders to suit your needs.

Children can make disposable birdfeeders by attaching a wire to a large pine cone, spreading peanut butter over the pine cone and then rolling it in birdseed.

Another easy feeder can be made from a coconut. Poke small holes in the coconut and drain out the milk. Cut a one-inch hole in the side of the coconut towards the bottom as your entrance. Wrap a wire through your original drainage holes to create a hanging loop. You can also drive a short piece of dowel into the coconut below the entrance for a perch. Small birds will eat the coconut insides clean.

You shouldn’t leave more than a day or two’s worth of food out at a time, because if an ill bird visits it could infect all the birds that use your feeder. It’s also important to clean the feeder in hot soapy water periodically to reduce the chance of infection or illness from spoiled food.

Where you hang your feeder is as important as how often you clean or refill it. You will want an area that allows the birds to feel secure from predatory birds, and is also protected from cats and dogs that might be nearby. If you have trees or bushes in your garden then place the feeder in their shelter so the smaller birds have a safe haven.

Squirrel stopper for bird feederSquirrels are clever little creatures, at least when it comes to defeating most anti-squirrel devices. One device which is particularly effective is the SquirrelStop™ dome (pictured left). You simply attach your birdfeeder to the SquirrelStop™ dome and when a squirrel climbs onto the feeder, the calibrated sensor will sense the weight and activate the motor, spinning round and causing the squirrel to jump off. The SquirrelStop™ dome comes with a 2 year guarantee and uses 3 x D batteries (not included).

A hanging feeder will be easier to squirrel-proof and will help stop cats from climbing up to visit. A string of thin wire strung between two trees, with the feeder, hung half way, will foil squirrels, at least temporarily.

Encouraging birds into your garden with feeders supplements their diet with quality nutrition and helps rid your garden of many harmful insects. For many homeowners, though, the presence of birds chirping away, eating and bathing in the garden is simply relaxing and enjoyable to watch.

Here are a few suggestions for feeding birds:

Bird feederThis unusual and extremely popular bird feeder brings the joys of nature right into your home. Easily secured to any window, you and the whole family can observe wild birds close up from the comfort of your own home whilst they enjoy a good feed. It has clear sides, an FSC timber roof and a suction sticker so it is removable in seconds and its practical design allows for easy cleaning. £7.95

Bird seedGood seed mixes (without loose peanuts) are an excellent source of protein, and Natural Collection have two seed mixes and one mix for non-seed eaters. Suitable for: G= Ground Feeding; F= Feeders; T= Table Feeding. £3.95

cross stitch ad for bird feeder

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