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Shall I feed the birds?

At the latest when the first snow lies, many people remember to hang up tit dumplings and feeding boxes. There is contradictory information on the net. Hardly any other topic is so controversially discussed among bird lovers as the feeding of wild birds. Many want to feed so that no animal starves to death. Others vehemently reject this as a senseless encroachment on nature. We say: There is nothing wrong with feeding birds, as long as you do it right. Here we clarify the most important questions about feeding birds.

Does feeding birds help to protect species?

The feed houses in our urban gardens are mainly used for common species that are less endangered. In more rural areas or on the outskirts of the city, on the other hand, you can sometimes see rarer birds at the feed house. In any case, it is a great opportunity to observe the behavior of birds from the cozy and warm living room, for example at the time of the winter birds, through which you can actively contribute to the inventory of our native birds. And maybe in spring, you’d like to grab a pair of binoculars and go out into nature.

Which food is best for which birds?
Many species love grains. Not much can be done wrong with a mixture of sunflower seeds and other delicious seeds. If you buy unpeeled seeds, it will make more dirt, but the birds will stay longer and you will be able to observe them better. Soft feed eaters such as blackbirds, thrushes or robins also like oatmeal, raisins or fruit. The popular tit dumplings made from a mixture of fat and grains are also great. But make sure that they are not – as is often the case – wrapped in plastic nets. The animals can easily get tangled up and at all, we need much less plastic waste. Do without anything salty, such as bread, bacon or cheese, which is harmful. A pure fat such as margarine or butter is also unsuitable.

Blue tit on a tit dumpling in a plastic net
Not like this! Birds can easily get entangled and injured in plastic nets.
No food without water
A bird watering place near the feeding place is a great thing. But be careful about cleanliness and change the water every day.

What’s best? Feeders, silos, feed dispensers?

Everything is well suited. But watch out for the cleanliness. Best are feeding places where the animals do not walk around in the food and can contaminate it with feces. A canopy helps to prevent the food from spoiling. In any case, you should pay attention to cleanliness and clean the feeding place more often, preferably with hot water. Especially when it is so cold and wet and not yet frozen, pathogens spread and the feed spoils quickly. Classic feeders should be swept out once a day. Therefore, always add a little food every day. You don’t have to do this so often with a silo, of course. Disease germs are more common in larger feeding areas. Therefore, set up several small ones rather than one large one.

 

Where to put the feeding place?

Of course, you should choose a place where you can observe the birds well. Make sure there are no windows nearby that act as traps. Stick stickers or poinsettias on large slices. It is best to place or hang the feeding areas two to three meters away from bushes. Thus sneaking cats have no chance and the birds can quickly flee from a bird of prey like the sparrowhawk.

How long should I feed?

In the past, it was always said to feed only when the snow cover was closed. In the meantime, this is considered outdated. You can feed all year round, although the animals need it most in winter in snow and frost. It starts best when the natural food sources become fewer in autumn and stops when fewer animals come to the feeding sites in spring. In the past it was often read that the animals would get used to feeding places and then become dependent, so to speak. One also reads that in spring tits would feed grains to chicks that only tolerate insect food. But there is no evidence of any of this. Rather, it seems that the breeding success is higher when feeding.

Winter feeding areas are nice, but you can do a lot more for birds and other animal and plant species around you. A natural garden is particularly important. With native plants, old fruit trees, berry bushes, perennial beds or a meadow with fragrant meadow herbs. Selects species that offer fruits and seeds at different times absolutely dispenses with chemical sprays u

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