How to put on a festive feast for birds


Easy methods to placed on a festive chicken buffet this winter

There’s nothing fairly like winter for consolation meals: Sunday roasts, heat apple pie, a mug of sizzling chocolate by the hearth. And that’s only for the people – do you know, you’ll be able to assist unfold the festive gastronomic pleasure together with your native birds, too?

Any extra meals you may give birds will probably be notably appreciated throughout these colder months, with most of their regular meals sources resembling worms, seeds, and berries turning into very tough to search out – and so they additionally want extra energy simply to remain heat. This doesn’t imply you need to rush out to the retailers, nonetheless. Birds love consuming most of the identical meals we do, so you’ll be able to pop your leftovers out on the chicken desk as a festive deal with.

If that is your first time placing meals out for the birds, it’d take a while for them to search out you, however don’t surrender – simply preserve placing out recent leftovers each few days so it doesn’t get mouldy, and the birds will come to you. You could be shocked at what turns up! Robins, blackbirds, starlings, and collared doves are all frequent backyard birds, however you could also have a winter migrant chicken, resembling a redwing, sampling your choices.

Listed below are some concepts for leftover treats you’ll be able to feed the birds:

  • Cheese – delicate grated cheese is a traditional hit with robins, dunnocks, blackbirds, and music thrushes.
  • Unsalted bacon rind – chopping it up means quite a lot of birds will be capable to have a nibble, and magpies and crows are liable to fly off with the entire lump if not well-anchored! However be certain there’s no salt in it, as salt is poisonous to birds.
  • Ripe or bruised apples and pears – thrushes, tits, and starlings are large followers.
  • Pastry – raw or cooked, both is nice so long as it’s made with actual fat.
  • Dried fruit – raisins, sultanas, and currants are favourites with blackbirds, music thrushes and robins (they are often harmful to canines and cats although, so that is one to keep away from if in case you have pets within the space).


Not the whole lot we eat is nice for birds, nonetheless. Listed below are some meals to keep away from:

  • Something with salt – salt is poisonous to birds, so be certain to maintain it off your chicken desk and don’t put salt in your birdbath to maintain it ice-free.
  • Cooking fats – leftover fats out of your Sunday roast might smear onto birds’ feathers and smash their waterproofing and insulating qualities.
  • Cooked porridge oats – they’re glutinous, and may harden round a chicken’s beak.
  • Milk – birds can’t digest milk so it may possibly make them severely unwell.
  • Dried coconut – it may possibly swell up of their abdomen and make them sick.

One other nice possibility, in case you don’t have leftovers, is packaged chicken meals. Sparrows, tits, and finches, for instance, will all go to feeders containing nuts, fats, or seed mixtures. The insect-eaters, resembling dunnocks, robins, and starlings desire mealworms, whereas suet-based merchandise are an all-round crowd-pleaser with their high-calorie content material.

And now, for the drinks order. Water is vital for birds, each to drink and to wash their feathers, however quite a lot of ponds and rivers freeze over in winter. You possibly can assist by placing out a birdbath – you should purchase one from the RSPB retailer, or make one at dwelling. Even a dustbin lid with some stones on the backside for grip will do the job!

However in case you’ve accomplished all that, and are on the lookout for extra methods to assist, there are many choices that may fit your outside house, whether or not it’s a backyard, balcony, or doorstep:

  • Put up a nestbox – shopping for or making a nestbox will give birds someplace to shelter over the winter, in addition to a spot to lift their chicks within the spring.
  • Add flora – plenty of beautiful shrubs, bushes, and flowers present meals for birds, both by their berries, seeds, or by attracting tasty bugs.
  • Depend your birds – yearly for the previous 4 a long time, the RSPB has requested individuals to tell us what birds they see over the course of an hour. This helps us to maintain observe of how backyard birds are doing, and final 12 months a record-breaking a million individuals took half!

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