Winter is a difficult time for birds – they need to find food for energy and to build fat stores to keep warm through long, cold nights.
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.
Secondly, you can provide birds with supplementary bird food in bird feeders – 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 up all year round, as birds will get used to them and it saves them making a wasted journey.
Grow berried plants
Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants. These are an important part of a bird’s diet – they help them to endure long periods of physical activity. Discover 10 berried plants for birds.
Provide the right foods
Sunflower hearts and seeds, nyjer seeds, seed mixes, peanuts or suet? Different types of food suit different birds.
Grow your own bird food
Many plants not only look good but provide abundant, easy-to-access food for birds. This means they don’t waste precious energy looking for food. Both the plants and the birds will add winter interest to your garden.
Birds love fat cakes, especially in winter – they give them energy and keep them warm. But the feeding balls needn’t be shop bought; you can use all sorts of kitchen scraps such as cheese and dry porridge oats. Discover how to make fat cakes for birds.
Make a simple feeder
Make a simple feeder using terracotta pots packed with fat cakes to attract a variety of birds, including great tits. Discover how to make a hanging bird feeder.