Encyclopaedia of Birdcare
Winter FeedingThe obvious season for feeding birds is the winter, although there is a flush of some types of natural foods in the autumn of most years, notably berries and seeds. By Christmas such supplies have largely gone, and artificial feeding then helps the birds through the most difficult time of year for them, the late winter, especially if spring is slow to arrive. In fact even summer feeding is now recommended, so providing foods for birds all year round is a sound idea. During winter, freezing conditions and prolonged snow cover cause serious additional problems for birds, especially ground feeders and insectivorous birds. At such times artificial feeding can make the difference between life and death, high-energy foods like sunflower seed, peanuts and fat being particularly valuable during this hard weather, while provision of water also becomes vital when freezing occurs. For the garden birdwatcher, the worst winter weather tends to bring the most exciting times, as unusual birds take advantage of the foods offered, but it also brings responsibilities, as some birds can develop a real dependence on feeding in the garden.
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