Feeding birds in winter, or bird buffets without bread

Dokarmianie ptaków zimą

Winter has arrived – a season during which we should help birds survive this difficult time for them. How to do it best? Is it enough to just install the feeder and pour the grains into it? How to help the birds without harming them in the process? We advise and above all emphasize: do not feed the birds with bread!

Feeding birds in winter requires regularity

Wild birds should forage for food on their own, but this is difficult in winter. Feeding allows them to survive, especially during harsh, freezing conditions. But it also has drawbacks. Getting used to easy food acquisition is a simple way to lose instinct and natural fear of humans, which can be dangerous for birds.

When deciding to feed birds in winter, it is worth knowing that winter involves regularity and responsibility. Once they realize that food is available at a particular location, they will visit regularly, several times a day, becoming dependent on human assistance. If the feeder is not replenished on a regular basis, the animals using it will suddenly be cut off from their food source – irregular feeding can do more harm than good.

What to feed the birds and what not to feed them? Certainly not with bread!

Bread, which we already mentioned in the introduction, is not suitable for birds. Why? Monika Klimowicz-Kominowska, spokeswoman for OTOP (Polish Society for the Protection of Birds), explains:

“Bread does not contain any ingredients that are valuable to birds, instead it has plenty that can harm birds. Salt causes kidney disease in birds and can lead to dehydration. Digested bread can lead to acidosis, and the consumption of large amounts of bread by young birds can lead to a disease called “angel wing,” which is caused by a diet too rich in carbohydrates and protein. Baked goods can also cause… starvation death (from exhaustion), as they overly fill the bird’s stomach, giving a feeling of satiety rather than providing essential nutrients. It also causes digestive gases that prevent birds from taking food.”

There is a well-known story of a swan that died with 3 kg of bread in its stomach. It is also unacceptable to feed other products typically intended for humans, and even more so if they are spoiled. This can lead to disease and even death of birds.

It is also important to ensure the cleanliness of the bird buffet. When organizing a feeder, you need to take care of the hygiene of the device and the area around it. This will protect the birds from disease and microbial transmission and death. The most vulnerable to this danger are the lagomorphs, which often collect food scraps under the feeder. The location of the feeder is also important – it should be in a safe place, away from predators.

What is the best way to feed birds?

It is best to pour into the feeders:

  • Sunflower (shelled and unshelled), whose fans include. Tits, sparrows and mazurts, lagomorphs or nuthatches. Among the birds visiting the feeders, the sunflower is the most popular;
  • Cereal seeds, such as millet, oats and wheat;
  • Unsalted nuts, especially hazelnuts;
  • fruits, i.e. Apple pieces, raisins. Their gourmets are thrushes, blackbirds and quackers;
  • Vegetables – cooked, diced is a suitable food for water birds, especially swans;
  • Pork fat – make sure it is not salted or smoked, and that it is replaced regularly (at most every 2 weeks or so, or more often);
  • fat-seed mixture, containing fat (such as tallow) and various types of seeds – such a fat ball or fat chub can be prepared yourself.

Fat balls (or fat dumplings) for birds, available in stores as a finished product, are most often wrapped in plastic netting. It can be dangerous for birds. Tits have been known to die entangled in its threads. It is becoming popular among amateur bird feeders to look for alternative methods of hanging fat balls, such as in a paper cup or container.

How about a duck buffet?

An example of a solution worth imitating can be boasted by the Board of Urban Greenery in Krakow, which recently installed Duck Buffets, the so-called “Duck Buffets”. Duckbusters. They contain food with vitamins and micronutrients for ducks and waterfowl. The vending machines dispense portions four times an hour free of charge so that people don’t overfeed the birds and food doesn’t go to waste. It is important to remember not to put the food in the water. Duck buffets in Krakow can be found, among others. At the Nowa Huta and Bagry Reservoirs, as well as in the parks of Enchanted Dorozka, Duchacki, or im. Tadeusz Kosciuszko. All this to encourage people to feed waterfowl with food suitable for them, and not such harmful bread.

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