Some tips to feed garden birds over the winter to help them survive. And it’s a great way to introduce children to nature.
With the approaching winter (at least if you’re reading this in the Northern Hemisphere), it’s time to consider helping your local wild birds through the cold months ahead, when finding natural food can be difficult. Feeding the birds in your garden or on your balcony and then identifying and counting them is extremely enjoyable, and a great way to introduce children to the wonders of nature. Here are a few tips that might help you to get started.
So those are the main foodstuffs I put out for the birds. During a really cold spell, for example when the ground is frosted over or thick with snow, I will also distribute bread, cheese, oats, and chopped up apples. When it’s icy I also put out a tray of water.
I am always amazed at how quickly the birds find the food. I start feeding the birds again in mid-October after the summer break. Just since then (4 weeks ago) I have already spotted 22 different species of bird in the garden, and 51 birds altogether. One winter the total number of birds in the garden was 155 (from 26 species).
I hope that your garden birds give you as much pleasure as mine give me. I am sure the birds appreciate your efforts.
For another article on this topic, check out this informative post on Feeding Wild Birds from Love Garden Birds.
Where to buy (in Belgium)
I find that AVEVE has a good range: its shops are throughout Belgium. For mail order, I recommend Vivara (in Dutch or French).
Any further suggestions?
Drop me a line if you have any other good suggestions of food items that your garden or balcony bids have found irresistible!
Great tips, Denzil! Our Cardinals love the sunflower seeds.
Thanks Jill. Do they do what our greenfinches do? Discard the shell (in a neat pile under the feeder!) and gobble the kernel?
Yes, they always leave the shells behind and then the wrens or sparrows come in and clean up.
Hey you have well-trained wrens and sparrows! I’m usually the one who cleans up!
Reblogged this on Theo Herbots zorgt voor uw webwinkel ðŸ›’ onlineðŸ“± and commented:
Met de winter in het vooruitzciht, is dit wel een artikel zeker en vast de moeite om te herbloggen.
Bovendien is deze Blog zeker ook aanbevelingswaardig om “alles” te weten te komen over BelgiÃ«
Bedankt Theo! Beste wensen. Denzil
We recently bought a new bird feeder (throwing away the old wire one) & the birds have completely ignored it since! They still eat the fat mix thatâ€™s hung up too though. Love encouraging birds into our garden. I could watch them for hours.
That’s ungrateful of them! If I were you I would threaten to take away their fat mix unless they pay more attention to that spanking new feeder.
Ha that is excellent bird parenting advice.
Great advice! I need every bit of it.
Glad you found it helpful Orla. Hope your garden birds give you much pleasure.
I love my robinðŸ˜
Great options for every gardener. I can’t feed them in the winter – black bears are attracted. 🙂
Oh my goodness Judy! That would be a scary sight, seeing one of those on the bird table 🙂
This looks like a 5-star bird restaurant.
Should be nominated in the Gault & Millau- or Michelin-guide.
But one you don’t have to reserve a table at!
We live in Sydney and has some lovely birds come to visit. Hubby loves putting out the sunflower seeds, but I’ve never heard of putting peanuts out – will have to give that one a go!
Definitely worth trying. If the birds don’t eat them, maybe hubby can!
Wonderful ideas and great pictures to show us what you are talking about. I have an old friend who lives in Asheville, North Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is an avid bird feeder. Squirrels are a constant issue. This past year she has had 3 bird feeders trashed because bears have also come down out of the mountains and when they want to get food from the feeders, they smash it with a paw. Hope you don’t have that level of problem. 🙂
My o my all the scary stories are coming out now (see Judy above). No we don’t have bears, nor even squirrels here, although I know squirrels can be a real nuisance, stealing all the nuts.
Guess it’s an East Coast bears problem. We encroach into bear territory and they return the favor by encroaching into our neighborhoods. Lions (no), tigers (no), and Bears (definitely yes!) oh my.
I’m just waiting for an Asian reader to come back with their problems with elephants stealing the peanuts…
I was going to ask about cats and birds in Belgium, but bears really trumps that!
Yeah, what do we have to worry about hey?
OHH, I so want to put up a bird feeder in my yard. It’s sounds odd to say, but even as a child, I never had one.
NOW is your great opportunity Nadalie. Quick, to the shops before they close!
We would feed the birds all year round if we didn’t have to worry about attracting bears and raccoons. Now that winter has arrived, our suet feeder is up and the chickadees and woodpeckers are munching away.
Have to say, I startled when I scrolled down and saw the dried worms. And I didn’t think I was squeamish. 😉
Maybe those mealworms would scare away your raccoons? But probably not.
Probably not. They have a cast iron stomach, those guys. 🙂
Lovely post and you wouldn’t believe how many of those bird feeders we have filled during our time as housesitters. Very popular pastime is bird watching 🙂
Great to hear Suzanne. Very distracting, aren’t they!
They are indeed, a lovely distraction 🙂
We also put out bird seed in the winter and we get some very colorful birds! Thanks for sharing your ideas on the different types of food. We may start offering a variety to our feathered friends! 🙂
There’s nothing like a varied diet is there Lisa!
You got that right!
You are so good to your birdies!
I couldn’t do that in the UK because our garden was small, and had a wall that was a cat/fox highway. If I fed birds it would end up being a buffet for cats and foxes!! We did make some of those fat/nut/cakes and leave them in our local park though.
Cats are a problem around here Josy, as I think they are everywhere. Nice of you to feed the birds in the park!
I would love to be a bird around your place. A varied diet, plenty of comfortable perches for snacking, and a safe environment to stop and smell the nuts. Sounds like an avian paradise.
You will have to slip on your wings and fly over here Gabe!
You must be the most popular guy in town, Denzil. What a feast. I wasn’t so keen on seeing those dried worms though. They’ve put me off my breakfast. 🙂
Yes those mealworms aren’t to everyone’s taste.
What a wonderful bird host you are, Denzil. Thanks for the descriptions of the menus and how to present them. A favorite pre-school activity is to roll a pine cone or a cardboard tube in peanut butter, then in a seed mixture, and hang it for the birds. We hang a couple of hummingbird feeders amidst the milkweed we grow for the monarchs. These are two of the feeding stations not invaded by opossum, raccoon, squirrels, and rats in the neighborhood.
Hi Sharon, that sounds a good idea. Maybe I’ll try that. It’s amazing that in many regions of the world, other, less desirable creatures are around to take advantage of the bird food. Your list is by far the biggest yet. Do you not have bears too?
No, but we do have skunks whose smell makes me very sick – have had a hard time getting them to leave. Beautiful animals though. Also coyotes, our scariest critters because they have no fear of people and brazenly walk down our streets. They’re usually interested in hunting cats and small dogs. We live across the street from an elementary school and I worry about the safety of the kids, especially those who walk home without an adult.
I have never smelt a skunk. And probably shouldn’t want to from all accounts. Don’t like the sound of them coyotes!
dat is erg aardig van je Theo. Ik waardeer het enorm. Bedankt
Great post as normal and made me get the bird feeder out and fill it with bird seed (a nice leftover from my wifeâ€™s crÃ¨che supplies on our lower floor.)
Going to look at expanding our variety though for the different birds that visit.
Have noticed how some do like eating from the ground (Blackbirds) and their various preferences…
Our house and garden obviously is in Uccle Centre so I am curious how many species we get in the â€˜cityâ€™.
Cheers – Kevin
Thanks Kevin. Look forward to hearing what birds you can attract. I think in Uccle you get a lot of parakeets don’t you?
wow! this is cool way to feed birds. Unfortunately, in India we don’t have such options. people just spread variety of grains in open spaces marked for bird feeding!
Thanks for your interest. It is always good to get input from different continents. What kinds of birds do you have where you are?
There are huge variety of birds. You can commonly spot pigeons, parrots, bulbul, myna, kingfisher at such places
Thanks for the education!
Excellent tips! I’ve neglected my birds in the past few weeks, but now that the weather is turning, I need to step up again.
Hope it’s not a severe winter for you over there Traci
Thanks, Denzil! It’s been a relatively mild Fall so far – hoping the trend continues! 🙂
Getting a wee bit chillee over here! Below zero at night. Glad of a warm duvet.
When we went to bed last night, it was 33F/0.5C outside. At this moment, it’s 60F/15.5C. We seemed to have changed seasons in 12 hours… LOL!
Hi Denzel, I’m a bit late to the party but we were inspired by your post to pick up a few new food holders and different types of feed. Those mealworms are a handful to deal with even in their mummified state!
We’re in Brussels and I’ll be interested to see if we attract more species here with our larger buffet.
Let me know Kevin! If you’re near a park, who knows what you might get.
What great tips Denzil and lucky birds! We have lots of bright colorful birds that visit us here.
They bring me a lot of pleasure, also because I’m a great list-maker!
Oh me too!
Ik vind het het heerlijk om tuinvogels te observeren en er komt veel volk op de vederplaats af
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Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.
Please let me know. Cheers
Yes sure, please do and spread this important information! Thanks.
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Great tips. Thanks for your sharing. Feeding birds is a favorite of mine. I always prepare different feeders to be able to attract a wider variety of birds. I prepared to add birdbaths and plant some shrubs for them. Besides, we should plant natural grass instead of using artificial grass is also a great tip for our backyard.