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Should I feed garden birds all year?



coal tit fledgling

You really should feed garden birds all year. We now know that birds really struggle to find enough food throughout the year – not just during winter. One of the most challenging times of year is now – May and June – as young birds are hatching and their parents are trying to find food for them.

Recent research from the RSPB shows that birds’ natural foodsources are increasingly ‘mismatched’ with their breeding season. This means that many baby birds are hatching after the peak of the caterpillar season. Caterpillars are a main food source for baby birds, so this has a huge impact on the amount of available food. To give you an idea, a baby blue tit eats about 100 caterpillars a day. With ten chicks in a nest, that’s 1000 caterpillars every day. Mum and Dad need to work very hard to manage this! Fledglings need a lot of food!

If these caterpillars aren’t available in the numbers needed, chicks starve to death.

As well as this, research shows that modern farming techniques are reducing the amount of suitable habitat for wildlife, and this has a direct impact on our garden birds. Birds rely on their surroundings for food: this might be caterpillars, berries, seeds, worms… but all of these things rely on there being a suitable habitat.

Create a space for wildlife

Roses on wall

Worms, insects and grubs need hidden corners, shady spaces and food sources to thrive. Old cobwebs deep in the corners of old sash windows offer a banquet for blue tits, who can hang acrobatically on the edges and pick out the hidden insects. Smooth, clean, modern uPVC windows offer fewer possibilities for them. Similarly, house martens and swallows need suitable eaves and corners to nest in, which modern buildings often fail to provide.

Beautifully groomed lawns, unblemished by weeds or moss, are also fairly unappealing for wildlife and don’t support many bugs and beasties. No bugs and beasties means no birds, so we need to do a little bit to help them out.

Our range of wild bird foods are specially selected to be high in nutritional value, so birds expend the least amount of energy for maximum nutritional gain. We’re always happy to advise on the most suitable product for your birds. Call into our Dumfries shop to see our full range.

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