Homeschool Garden Club - Feeding the Birds Over Winter
Winter is a difficult time for feathered friends. All year we have been doing our best for the bird with water and growing sunflowers for them. Now they need to find food for energy and to build fat stores to keep warm through long, cold nights. Did you know: that the smaller birds need to eat up to a third of their bodyweight every single day?
There are two ways in which you can feed birds in winter. Firstly, you can grow plants that will provide them with food, such as berries and seeds, and other plants that will provide a habitat for insects that they can eat. Last year (2020), we have been focusing on plants for the pollinators and for bees in particular. We have been able to identify which plants we have and add some more to that list. So, next year as the Orchard Training Homeschool Garden Club we will decide together if we should focus on identifying and adding plants for butterflies or for the birds.
Secondly, you can provide birds with supplementary food at the bird feeding stations and we have been making our own bird feeds. Feeding birds like this is especially useful during winter and early spring, when natural foods are in short supply, and snow and ice can make accessing them harder. But it’s worth making sure that feeders are kept topped as birds will get used to them and it saves them making a wasted journey.
Different types of food suit different birds. We have been putting our sunflowers form our sunflower competition to good use and making fat cakes and fat balls for the birds using bird seeds from the garden centre. Birds love fat cakes, especially in winter – they give them energy and keep them warm. We have also made wholemeal bird biscuits and doing some maths on which shape the birds prefer.
If you haven’t already been out and feed the birds – now is the time to do so. While you are out there make sure the water supply is clean and not frozen over.
In this photography, you can see my garden got a blanket of snow that disappeared very quickly to leave a frozen layer over everything.