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Feeding the birds in winter

In winter, it’s more difficult for birds to find food. Plants are covered with snow and often inaccessible so birds cannot find insects, seeds or berries. So to help the birds survive the winter we can feed them.

When is the right time to feed the birds

It’s better to feed the birds only in winter. The rest of the time, they have to be independent to find their food. Feeding them all year round risks breaking the food chain. If you decide to feed the birds, it’s best to do so during very cold periods, when the birds will not find food so easily.

See the instructions to create this bird feeder

What to give the birds

It’s easy to find seed mixes suitable for wintering birds in the stores of your area. The seeds can also be mixed with fat to make fat balls. You can find many types of seeds for garden birds, balls of seeds in fat and also bags of dried insects. There are plenty of choices to help our winged friends in the winter.

You can make your own fat balls by combining sunflower seeds and coconut oil.

Fat balls

Instead of tying the seed balls to strings, you can make seed loaves in muffin tins and place them in a suet feeder.

Seed loaves in a suet feeder
Thanks to Charles Letourneau for kindly sharing his photo

What to give the birds

Here is a short list of foods that can help birds through the winter.

  • unsalted butter and margarine
  • apples and pears
  • seed mixtures such as wheat, oats or barley
  • meat fat
  • some berries

What not to feed the birds

  • leftovers from our meals
  • dry bread, crackers and leftover pastries that cause digestive problems
  • milk also causes digestive disorders which can be fatal
  • honey contains bacteria responsible for botulism
  • chocolate causes digestive, cardiac and nervous disorders
  • raw potatoes cause digestive problems
  • pits and seeds contain cyanide which can be toxic and even fatal to birds

A few tips

  • place your feeders high up to prevent cats from catching birds
  • don’t forget to clean the feeders regularly to prevent the spread of disease among the birds
Place your feeders high up

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