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Feeding birds in the garden: with these tips you keep the feathered friends healthy in winter

The weekend is the time for a break from the daily routine and then it happens to many of us that we just look out the garden with the morning coffee. We are aware of birds coming and going and watch the tits, sparrows, finches and robins flitting from branch to branch. One of the best ways to enjoy wildlife from the comfort of your own home is to feed the birds in your yard. You will be amazed at the variety of birds that will come to your feeder throughout the year.

Is it forbidden to feed birds in your own garden?

Is feeding birds in the garden forbidden

In principle, feeding birds is not prohibited. However, in many cities and towns it is not allowed to feed pigeons. Experts disagree on whether feeding birds in the garden will significantly help bird populations. But feeding can certainly help individual birds in the neighborhood. However, be aware that feeding unsuitable food can lead to nutritional problems. This can make the birds sick and cause premature or painful death.

When should you feed the birds?

The birds need food in winter

It is not necessary to feed the birds throughout the year. Bird feeding is most helpful, especially during the periods when birds need the most energy. This happens during extreme temperatures, bird migration, and late winter or early spring when natural seed sources are depleted.

Feed birds properly in winter

Feeding birds in the garden regularly in the colder months

Provide food and water regularly at this time of year. During severe weather, feed birds in the garden twice a day if possible: in the morning and early afternoon. During frost and snow, especially many birds will accept the offer.

Birds need high-energy food during cold winter weather to maintain fat reserves and survive the frosty nights.

Once you have established a feeding routine, try not to change it, as birds will get used to it and plan their visits to the garden accordingly.

What bird food should you offer in the winter?

The best bird food to offer to feathered friends


  • Black sunflower seeds: they are among the most popular seeds among a variety of birds. If you are only adding one type of feed to your feeder, this is the right choice.
  • Black oil sunflower seeds: the difference between sunflower seeds and black oil sunflower seeds is that the latter are larger and contain more calories per seed, making them a highly nutritious food.
  • Mixed seeds: They are a great option and an easy way to feed birds in winter.
  • Fruit: Apples and pears are a wonderful addition to the bird feeder . Heavily bruised fruits also do well.
  • Peanut butter: it is a high calorie food that is loved by many different birds. Just make sure you don’t offer regular peanut butter, which contains salt and sugar.
  • Millet: It is a particular favorite of sparrows.
  • Peanuts: Hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts, poppy seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Niger seeds: They are the favorite treat of goldfinches. Use a tube feeder with tiny holes to keep the seeds from falling out and welcome these colorful birds to your garden.
  • Cracked corn: Choose medium cracked corn, as fine corn quickly turns to mush and coarse corn is too large for birds with small beaks.

Foods to avoid when feeding birds

Feeding birds in the garden - some foods to avoid

While some foods are safe for birds, others we eat can be potentially dangerous or even deadly. That’s why you need to know which foods to avoid. We’ll take a look at what foods you shouldn’t feed birds to keep your feathered friends safe and healthy.

  • Salty foods: this means you should not feed birds salty processed foods such as bacon, pizza or chips, or homemade foods that have salt added to them during cooking or at the table.
  • White Bread: When birds gorge themselves on white bread, they stop eating their natural food, which is nutritious. The birds may then suffer a nutritional deficiency and also choke on bread balls.
  • Avocado: It contains a fungicide called persin, which is not harmful to humans, but it can cause heart and lung problems in birds that can even prove fatal.
  • Milk: Birds are lactose intolerant, so milk and other dairy products should be completely eliminated from the diet.
  • Fruit Seeds and Kernels: You may be surprised, but many fruit seeds and pits actually contain cyanide. While this doesn’t make them dangerous to humans, they can be harmful or even deadly to birds, which are much smaller.
  • Chocolate and candy: Chocolate contains both dairy and caffeine and even very small amounts of it can kill birds.
  • Foods that pose a choking hazard: There are many small, hard foods that pose a choking hazard to birds: whole peanuts, uncooked beans, pieces of bread, shredded coconut, and more.
  • Spoiled or moldy food: this even applies to specially formulated bird food that is no longer fresh or shows signs of infestation.

Are eggshells good for birds?

Feed birds with eggshells for more calcium


Eggshells are good for birds. They are rich in calcium, a mineral that many birds lack. Calcium is especially important for female birds, which need it to form the shells for their eggs. However, it can be difficult to find enough in nature.

This is where eggshells come in: simply rinse the eggshells and then bake them in the oven at 220°C for 10 minutes. Once they’ve cooled, crush them and add them to the bird’s menu.