The best ways to feed birds in the winter- Eco-friendly bird feeders16th February 2021
Birch. Crab Apple. Mountain Ash. Holly. All trees loved by common garden birds like Robins, Goldfinches, Blackbirds, Starlings – and the Galloway Woodlands’ team know that the struggle to find food during winter is real.
Hence this quick look at how you can use your garden trees to house eco-friendly bird feeders that will give our feathered friends a helping hand – plus February also happens to be National Bird-Feeding Month over in the US.
Nature’s larder shuts up shop in winter
The ground is often too hard to break through for birds regardless of their size and strength so digging for worms is out, while caterpillars, beetles, and grubs stay hidden and hibernating for the most part. Smaller birds have it particularly tough when nature’s larder is out of reach because they lose heat very quickly and have to eat a lot of food at regular intervals to keep warm.
Eco-friendly feeders for trees
A quick Google search throws up bird feeder options galore to purchase and turn your hand to making.
Among them, feeders made from recycled ‘second-life’ plastic are a wee bit kinder to the planet. They store seeds and nuts, come in colours sympathetic to your garden, are lightweight, and have a hanging loop for all sorts of tree branches. They’re also easy to clean with some warm water and an old toothbrush.
Because the following ideas are all so easy to make whether you’re the crafty type or not, why not have a crack at making your own bird feeder that won’t ever be heading to a landfill. How about hollowing out half an orange and filling it with birdseed and nuts or fashioning one out of biodegradable twine or even the centre of a toilet roll smeared with peanut butter? Then there are wee breakfast cereal twine garlands, or you can buy bird feeders made from recycled plant pots. You name it it’s out there. And don’t forget birdbaths. Most species love a good splash about.
Best trees for eco-friendly bird feeders
Evergreens are the best trees for eco-friendly bird feeders because their thick foliage protects our feathered feasters from being buffeted by the weather while they tuck in. Still, you can attach your eco-friendly bird feeder to any type of tree really.
Chief among your considerations should be reducing the opportunities for predators like cats and Sparrowhawks to get in on the act by placing feeders where the birds can spot danger easily and away from other, larger branches that can provide jumping-off points for these critters. This method also deprives hungry squirrels of a springboard to snaffle the birdseed.
Oh, and you might also want to loosely stack brush piles near your feeders to provide resting and escape cover for ground-dwelling birds who also love your garden. Beware garden netting, especially during the breeding season, and placing feeders away from your house on a tree branch also minimises the risk of birds colliding with windows.