BirdWatch Ireland Advice on Feeding Birds in Winter

A House-Sparrow party at the garden feeder as the weather plunges towards cold and harshness. Mixed seeds are a great hit with most garden birds and will get them through the rough patches. These birds are tearing into a holder of fat-balls. ©Photograph: John Reidy
This sign near Herbert Bridge on the Killarney Road informs us that bread is probably the worst food you can feed to ducks and it provides a list of alternatives.






















It isn’t much with a week ago that garden birds were feeding away on some kind of flies. And daffodils were threatening to bloom two months or so ahead of the time they’re most noted for.

It’s been a different story now that the weather has plunged to a depth more like winter.

Our garden birds need food when the conditions take such a nose-dive.

Best Advice on Food and Feeders

BirdWatch Ireland provides the best advice on food and feeders – though the former is of far more importance than the latter, both should be given some consideration.

Browne’s Agri and Builders Providers have a huge range of both food and feeders. If you want to get started on feeding and watching the antics of the birds then there’s no better time.

Peanuts are Popular

According to the BirdWatch Ireland advice, peanuts are the most popular food for garden birds and attract a wide range of species. Be sure to buy from a reputable supplier as mouldy peanuts can kill birds.

When feeding during the spring and summer ensure all peanuts are fed from a mesh peanut feeder, as whole peanuts can be harmful to young birds.

Black sunflower seed is a highly nutritious and popular food for birds, especially the tits and finches.

Higher Oil Levels

It has a higher oil level and energy value than the striped-shell variety of sunflower seed, often sold alongside, which tends not to be as popular with the birds, although they will eat it. ‘Mixed Wildbird Seed’ is often sold at a seemingly good price but often doesn’t attract the birds; much of this mixture is either wheat or corn and, apart from pigeons, few garden birds can

digest this food source.

Don’t Waste Fats

Don’t waste any fat! It’s a nutritious food for garden birds. Lumps of suet may be hung out, and meat trimmings, bacon rinds and table scraps will also be eaten gratefully.

The large ‘Fat Balls’ which can be bought in pet shops often prove highly popular – you can also make your own home-made version by pouring melted fat over bread or cake scraps to make ‘bird cake’.

Suitable Moulds

This can be made even more nutritious if some seeds, nuts, oatmeal, grated cheese or

dried fruits are added. Use half a pound of fat per pound of dry ingredients.

Coconut shells and yogurt cartons make suitable moulds.

Once you begin to feed the birds they quickly become dependent on you, so please be sure to continue feeding right through to mid-spring. 

Click For More Info

For further information on what you can do to help the birds around your home, have a look at the BirdWatch Ireland guidelines with a click on the link here:

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