Winter troubles: helping your garden birds

Winter can be a time a sheer hardship; a time, unlike periods of good harvest, when birds struggle to survive in the harsh realities of cold winter months; frost alone, causing ground to harden and become mostly inaccessible to many birds seeking grubs, caterpillars and worms, can be the tolling death knell for many a wild bird.

By providing an alternative source of sustenance in your gardens, many thousands of birds all around the UK will be helped throughout these incredibly tough times. A little helping hand, they say, goes a long way, and this applies more than anything to our garden birds.

It is a curious fact that our beloved Blue tit, in certain studies, was shown to have increased the time it spends searching for food in winter considerably; in fact, approximately 75% of daylight hours are spend in the search for food.

Handy winter tips for helping your garden birds

If there’s a consistent and regular supply of nutritious food in your garden, the birds will come. This rule generally applies for most key periods of the year, like the breeding season, but can be particularly relevant over winter.

Here are our top five winter tips to ensure your garden birds have the best chance of journeying through winter without harm.

  1. Use a good quality seed mix. These generally have less filler, such as cereal content, which many cheaper varieties contain, and are usually created to cater for a range of dietary requirements. Our Ultiva seed mixes have been made in precisely this way.
  2. Since it is possible for the ground to harden due to frost, use live mealworms as an alternative to earthworms and caterpillars. This natural food is ideal for Blue tits, Robins, Blackbirds and a variety of finches.
  3. Use an instant-energy fix food such as suet balls, cakes and pellets. These are packed with nutritional goodness, and are often blended with peanuts, mealworm and fruit.
  4. Ensure your birds have plenty of available water in dishes and bird baths. During this time, the water may freeze so use a ping pong ball to prevent some freezing. The ping pong ball can move around in the wind, disturb the water, and prevent it from freezing.
  5. And finally, if you have any leftovers from Christmas, such as a few crumbs of cake, a bit of animal fat, cheese or pastry, these will go down a treat.

Look out for birds in the morning, and be mindful that this is an important time for feeding, as during the night birds attempt to replenish their lost energy and are often hungry in the morning. This is then followed in the evening by a flurry of feeding activity, as birds prepare for the long winter night ahead.

Top three winter foods for your garden birds

Premium Wild Bird Suet Balls

Our premium suet balls each contain over 90g of high grade beef suet, wheat, peanuts and added dried mealworms too! We guarantee your garden visitors will love this new recipe!

Ultiva® Autumn and Winter Seed Mix

Ultiva® Autumn & Winter seed mix is a specially-formulated mixture of high energy, oil-rich seeds and grains that feature black sunflower seeds, naked oats and white dari.

Premium Wild Bird Sunflower Hearts

These highly nutritious and oil-rich sunflower hearts for wild birds come without the husks of complete sunflower seeds.