Help the little birds in winter
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Why not let some of nature's everyday drama unfold in your garden? Invite all the small birds in the forest for food. Here are his top tips.
It is a great joy for both big and small to feed small birds this year. In addition to helping them through a tough season, you also get the opportunity to take a closer look at them. Many birds are most active in the morning and it is a joy to see them alternately crowded around the food, alternately sitting on a branch nearby and waiting their turn. If they are able to wait their turn, that is, the larger birds try to push forward and the smaller ones refuse to let them out. It can go really wild.
You can start feeding the birds when the first snow has fallen or after a couple of frosty nights. Or do as Bo Olsén, a bird enthusiast from Huddinge south of Stockholm, he feeds the small birds all year round.
Bo Olsén has been interested in birds for as long as he can remember and has more than thirty years of experience in feeding small birds in his villa garden.
Hmm, where should I fly with this nut?
Today he has no less than sixteen different seed vending machines, twelve of which are visible from inside the house. Despite the fact that he lives in an urban area, all feeding places are well visited, which may be due to the fact that the plot borders a common with forest and mountains. The most common guests are blue tit, great tit, blackbird and birch, but sometimes even a little more unusual birds find their way to the seed vending machines. Then he can be accompanied by, among other things, stone cracks and rosewood.
On a few occasions, a flock of vegetables has landed in the garden, but they are a little more rare and never stay long.
- They are so nervous about themselves, says Bo. They land in flocks on the lawn and as if on a given signal, they take off and fly up into a tree, then down to the ground again. So they keep going until they finally give up and fly on.
Bo Olsén prefers to use seed vending machines rather than bird tables so that the birds do not step around and leave faeces in the food. But this feeding method does not suit all birds. Some find it difficult to get stuck and eat at the same time, they prefer to walk on the ground and pick seeds.
A good tip is to place the food in a safe place, preferably near a shrubbery or a tree so that the birds can quickly find protection against birds of prey or cats if needed.
So what do the different birds want to eat? Bo prefers peanuts and sunflower seeds. Sebum balls are good food for the small birds and the thrushes like to pick at halved apples. It is also possible to saw in half or make an opening in a coconut and hang it up.
A hungry blue tit comes flying
Feeding birds is associated with a lot of myths that Bo is happy to help kill. For example, you do not have to worry at all about tricking migratory birds into staying if you start feeding too early. They are programmed to move when they have gathered enough power.
Another myth is that once you have started feeding, you have to continue all winter. This dismisses Bo Olsén,
- The birds are not as stupid as we think, he says. They do not lie down and die just because the food has run out, they fly on. Then they can die of other causes during the winter, cold for example, but not because you have stopped refilling.
Finally, do you usually put up Christmas sheaves?
- No, the expertise says that it is not good for the small birds to eat oats because they can not get rid of the shell. I have exhibited shards at some point and possibly it has managed to attract some yellow sparrows. But I say this: as an ornament in the garden - Yes! As bird food - No!
Book tips: For those of you who want to know more about how to feed small birds, Bo Olsén recommends the book Feed birds by Niklas Aronsson, (2006) Published by the Swedish Ornithological Society.
TEXT: Malin Erlingson
Feed the birds in autumn and winter
Autumn and winter are a tough period for our resident birds, but you can help by feeding the birds when it is coldest.
What the birds need is energy - and in as energy-dense a form as possible. Therefore, skip the bread shells when you are going to feed birds and instead fill the bird table with seeds, nuts and fat in the form of, for example, tallow balls. Supplement with apples, oatmeal and coconut oil and you will get many different kinds of birds for your garden.
Grow sprouts and shoots
Of course you can eat fresh and freshly harvested all year round! Sprouts are a good seasoning and also contain lots of vitamins. With a trough for sprouts or shoots and with seeds from radish, sandwich cress, fennel or broccoli shot are you there soon. If you want more color on the plate, try sprouting the bright purple ones black radish! After only 4-7 days, it is time to harvest - in the darkest November.
You get a sense of inspiration that gets you started by reading Annika Christensen's guest blog post ”Sprouts - much more than just decorations!”.
Another inspirational tip is the book Sprouts shoots and micro green written by food writer Lina Wallentinson. Read more about the book here or take a look at some of the recipes from the book.
Lovely picture of sprouts from Annika Christensen guest blog: "Sprouts - much more than just decorations!".
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Best tips to feed the birds in winter
Are you a bird animal lover who is happy to help them with food?
Then it is important to also know what the small birds need.
Both food and location determine whether they will survive the winter.
The small birds depend on help with food to survive the winter. Thankfully, the animal lovers, and the bird lovers in particular, are many. But just giving is not enough. You have to give the right kind of food - it as well as the situation can be absolutely decisive for whether they will survive the winter.
Make sure that the water is completely shut off and roll up the water hose to prevent the hose, water pipes or water tap from freezing. Brush off and lubricate your garden tools before placing them in a dry place over the winter. If you have a garden in the southernmost parts of the country, however, it may sound yours hand tools, as weed iron and cultivator, be easily accessible. Despite the small daylight, the weeds usually thrive even in winter. Take the opportunity to clear some weeds, on a mild winter day, and you will have a head start this spring.
Take care of your garden tools already in season one, and they will last longer.