Today (29th October) was the RSPB ‘Feed the Birds Day’. Many people put food out for wild birds to attract them to their gardens.
I have a small birdfeeding station in my garden as well as feeders suspended from a fir tree. The feeding station includes a spiral finial with detailed brackets. It also comes with a feeder pole, double bracket, water dish and seed tray.
My feeders contain fat balls, sunflower seed, fat cakes and peanuts. I used to fill a niger seed container as well, but never managed to attract the finches to the garden to eat the seed.
The feeding station also contains a water dish which is topped up every day.
Feeding the birds gives me a lot of pleasure as I enjoy watching them feeding through the year. The birds I attract as robins, chaffinches, sparrows, magpie, great spotted woodpecker, long-tailed tits, blue tits, coal tits and great tits. Gold finches are occasional visitors as are fieldfare in the winter.
Hygiene and Bird Feeders
All bird feeders need to be cleaned out regularly to avoid infection spreading among the birds. I use a solution of one part bleach to nine parts hot water. Commercial birdfeeding cleaning solution is also available but is quite expensive.
I tend to clean my feeders every fortnight by stripping them down completely and using a bottle brush and old toothbrush to clean them with cleaning fluid. I rinse them under the tap before filling up again.
A dirty birdfeeder can harbour bacteria, mold and other disease agents which can affect the bird population. Infected birds can spread the illness to other gardens, creating epidemic conditions which can wipe out entire nesting colonies.
Birds need water to keep their feathers in good condition to help them with body insulation during those cold winter nights.
Birds also need water to help wash down their food, as diets in winter are usually drier than in the summer when berries and juicy insects are readily available.
Water can be made readily available from a suitable container such as bird baths, these are commercially sold and designed for the purpose. It’s important that the container is regularly cleaned and the water replaced to keep it fresh.
In the winter water can freeze quite easily and should be replaced with fresh water daily. Garden centres sell fluid to prevent bird baths freezing. I buy large tea lights and place them in a small dish and place a water bowl on top to stop the water freezing, which works very well.