In winter, birds are not as active as in other seasons. Especially in the temperature and cool climate zone. So I wondered how they can survive the often cold and snowy winters.
This year, the beginning of December was very cold and even the local ponds were covered with ice, on which flocks of birds, such as coots, terns, ducks, swans and Canadian geese, moved carefully. They were clearly looking around for food, which unfortunately was nowhere to be seen.
However, birds have to deal with such weather. For this purpose, they have a waterproof plumage and a fluffy layer of feathers. In addition, if they find a rich source of food, they can survive the winter on the spot.
Birds on a frozen ice could stand for a long time, ruffling their beautiful multicolored feathers. This ruffle of feathers also helps them to accumulate heat and thus they can warm themselves with the help of their body. Birds also have a fast metabolism and can maintain a constant body temperature.
Birds look for food on frozen pond - Coots, ducks, Canadian gees, black headed gulls.
If the food is covered with a layer of snow, the hungry bird will quickly freeze, which may result in its death. When the winter day is shorter and the snow lies on the ground, the birds have less chance to find enough food. A shorter day is not always enough to get the right amount of food necessary to endure a long and cold night. In addition, food becomes almost unavailable to birds due to frost, snow and soot. Fortunately, where I was walking by the pond and in the reeds there was not much snow.
Birds can also change their diet to more readily available food. If, for example, they fed on insects in the summer, they will feed mainly on seeds in the winter. This is how blue tit, red robin and woodpeckers feed, for example. In turn, blackbirds, thrushes or waxwings eat the fruit left on the trees and shrubs.
Birds of prey, such as ravens, then feed on carrion instead of hunting live animals.
Raven looks for food in the snow.
We can, of course, help birds in this difficult period for them, so that they can somehow survive it. By the way, feeding birds develops interest in observing them, both in adults and children, but also in nature in general. We all have the opportunity to observe birds up close. But feeding the birds should be well thought out, otherwise we can cause various disorders in their digestive system, or that the birds will not want to migrate to warmer countries for the winter, and even make mating pairs, which will not increase their population.
Feeding the birds should take place in the right place, preferably if it is a feeder made of natural materials and high-quality food that we will provide to the birds throughout the winter. At the same time, we can have a pleasant time to observe the behavior of birds, take successful photographs and birds themselves are always a beautiful object and a source of aesthetic impressions.
Thanks to feeding the birds have a chance to survive until spring in the least depleted composition. Although we can feed the birds, they do not stop looking for food on their own.
In favorable weather conditions, when there is no frost or snow, the birds try to feed themselves by eating hidden insects, their eggs and pupae as well as plant seeds, fruits of shrubs and trees. They usually come to the feeders twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. The situation is different when the weather worsening rapidly. Thick fogs, torrential rains, snowfall, hoarfrost, soot make it difficult or impossible for birds to get food on their own, and then for most of the day you can see them sitting in feeders and feeding there. In these critical periods, feeders often save their lives. We can use birds tables, feeders and ground for feeding birds.
I often see people walking in parks scattering old and moldy bread. This is a very bad practice that can cause sickness and even death of birds, and also attract more rats. Often this bread is thrown into the water, which causes pollution of ponds in parks. Bread soaked in water and containing a lot of carbohydrates can cause a disease in birds manifested by deformation of the joint in the wing.
Birds cannot be fed fast foods and salted foods.
Swans and ducks are herbivores and their natural diet is plants, especially underwater. We can feed them with cereals, oat grains, corns, wheat seeds and raw or cooked and chopped vegetables without salt.
I decided to feed the birds and invite more red robins and blackbirds and other singing birds to my garden. I have a ready mix of seeds and dried insects that contain essential nutrients for the winter, for example: millet, some nuts, sunflowers seeds, suet pellets and mealworms.
I know that it is not easy to lure birds to the garden, but if patiently and systematically will put food in the feeder, maybe eventually they will come to me more often.
Let's remember about birds when is cold, snowing and it is hard for them to find the food.