Aside from low temperatures, winter brings another trouble for birds – a lack of food. We can help them survive cold winter days by providing the additional food in the feeders. In our climatic conditions birds need to be fed from the end of November to the end of February, but this period may be longer or shorter, depending on the severity of the winter. There are several types of bird feeders that can be easily made and filled with food rich in carbohydrates and fats – most birds prefer sunflower seeds, but they will also eat peanuts, rye, barley, oats, millet, wheat, corn, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or dried fruits (figs, raisins, apples …) mixed with fat.
One of the simplest bird feeders can be made by mixing sunflower, flax, millet, and corn, or ready-made commercial mixture of bird seeds with fat, modelling it into a ball and wrapping it with a metal mesh or a net bag, before hanging it on a tree.
Orange peel can also be used for making bird feeders – the orange is cut in half, squeezed, and the peel filled with a mixture of seeds and fat and hung on a tree. Plastic cups can also be used in the same way.
A simple bird feeder can be made from a recycled plastic bottle, which is cut in the lower third and filled with seeds. The plastic spoons or sticks are added, so the birds can stand on them.
The most durable feeders, the “tablets”, are made of a 20×30 cm board, and mounted on a wooden or metal pillar. The thin splints can be added to the borders of the board, in order to prevent the feed falling on the ground. A roof can also be added to this feeder, to protect food from rain or snow, and in that case the feeder can be hanged on a tree using a by a rope or cable. Various seeds and dry fruits can be placed on such feeders.
We should never feed bread, nor fried or salted peanuts and sunflower to the birds. These foods are very bad for them, and can even kill them. It is advisable to add a bird bath to our garden as well – it can be a plastic or metal bowl or platter filled with lukewarm water, which birds will drink during summer, but also during winter, when all other water in the neighborhood is frozen. It is very important to place the feeders and bird baths high enough and away from the dense bushes or similar places where a cat can hide.
Birds should be fed regularly until snow melts or the temperatures increase enough for them to be able to find food for themselves.
In spring and summer, birds will thank us for the food with their song, but also by catching and eating numerous pests in gardens, parks and orchards.