Feeding Birds During Nesting Season

 

When Is Nesting Season?

Although there is no specifically defined season that birds nest, depending on factors such as weather conditions and bird species having an effect – the majority of birds tend to nest between March and August. The spring/summer months in the UK.

To protect birds during this period, following the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, we mustn’t disturb nesting birds.

Why?

Why shouldn’t we disturb nesting birds? It is during the nesting season that birds are at their most vulnerable. Any disturbances to their nest could cause the parent birds to abandon their nest, leaving the young at huge risk.

It is because of these disturbances that feeding birds used to be a winter activity. However, birds need help in those summer months too!

How Can We Feed Birds Without Disturbing Their Nests?

It is vital, in the nesting months that birds, particularly parents birds, maintain high energy levels. Following the breeding season, there are much more birds to feed in the UK and so birds must get the right nutrients.

To keep birds fed without disturbing the nest is important! Place the food away from their nests, that way the birds can visit their food and return it to their young. This is a simple way of ensuring that wildlife such as squirrels or other predatory bird species won’t cause harm to the nest if they also, find the food.

Offering a nest box for birds to nest in, is an easy way of distancing the nest and the food storage.

Birds flying toward nest box

What To Feed Them

It is necessary during the nesting season that we provide birds with a high energy food source, but also a food source that is acceptable for their young. Large seeds and nuts can cause the young more harm than good – they may choke.

Good food for birds in nesting season includes:

–         Sunflower seeds – including black sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts, these seeds are packed with energy and can be eaten quickly by birds.

–         Mealworms – weather conditions during nesting season might make live food hard to find. Mealworms are protein-packed.

–         Fruit – high in protein and energy, fruit, specifically raisins make a perfect addition to a seed mix for birds during nesting season.

–         Mixed bird seeds (without peanuts) – a mixture of seeds can attract a variety of visitors during nesting season so you can be sure you are pleasing different bird breeds. Avoid peanuts in your mix as these could cause choking in the younger birds.

Take into consideration during the nesting season that weather conditions can affect a bird’s ability to naturally gain its energy sources. Live food is recommended, to supplement what they may usually find in the wild.

What To Avoid

There are several ‘usual’ bird feeds that may not be appropriate for those spring and summer months. When feeding during nesting season, it is important to consider:

– Peanuts – as said before, peanuts can cause choking amongst the chicks, who during these months, are an adult bird’s priority.

Read about how to safely feed your birds peanuts here.

–         Fat Balls – although a great source of nutrients, avoid fatty foods for your birds in the summer months as they can easily go rancid. It is best to feed your birds with fat balls during the winter months.

Be sure to maintain a supply of bird food during nesting season as they face potential food shortages in the wild.

Birds eating from bird feeder

Get In Touch

Want some more advice on nesting season and what to feed your birds as we approach the summer months? Let us know!

Call: 07778 342665

Email: info@kennedywildbirdfood.co.uk 

It’s winter which means the weather is getting colder and harsher. when the weather gets bad, it can be hard for birds, especially small garden birds, to keep warm and safe in the conditions.

You can help birds this winter by making sure they have a place to stay that is warm and dry, and you can do this by putting a nest box in your garden, however, you need to be aware of how nest boxes can be affected in winter and winter nest box care.

What is a Bird Nest Box?

A bird nest box is a small birdhouse, often made of wood or plastic, that will make an ideal place for a garden bird to make its home. You can purchase a birds nest box or make one your own and place it in your garden for a bird to come and make your garden its new home.

A bird net box can be a huge help for birds in winter. In winter, a lot of trees lose their foliage and because of this, there is less coverage in trees and bushes for birds meaning they are exposed to the cold elements. With a birds nest box, the birds in your garden can have access to a warm sheltered place that will be safe for them in winter, but if you are planning on putting up a birds nest box this winter, then you need to know about birds nest box care.

nuthatch bird on nestbox

Winter Bird Nest Box Care

Make sure the bird’s nest box is clean and sanitary. If it is a brand new box then it should be ok, but it is quite an old one then you might want to give it a quick clean with some hot soapy water.

Birds feel safer the higher up they are so it’s a good idea to place the bird box around 10 feet above the ground. Make sure that you nail the bird box down and place it in a place it is going to be safe, like a sturdy tree or on a protected wall. This is because winds can get quite bad in winter and bird boxes can get blown loose if they are not nailed down properly.

Prepare the box for winter. A lot of bird boxes are well ventilated and have air holes all over so that the box does not overheat in summer. In winter this is not an issue, and you might be better filling in or blocking the holes so that the birds are protected from the cold whilst they are in the box.

blue tit bird and nest box

What Should I feed The Birds in Winter?

Winter can be a tough time for birds as the temperature can drop to seriously low levels and it can be hard for them to find food and stay warm.

This is why it is important to make sure that you leave food out for the birds that visit your garden and more importantly that you use flood that is going to help the birds survive the winter.

Here at Kennedy Wild Birds Food, we have a range of food, specially designed for birds and to help them get the protein and nutrients they need to survive.

Mixed Birdseed

Here at Kennedy Wild Bird Feed, we have a variety of mixed birds seeds available. our bags of mixed birds’ seeds are specially designed to give birds all the energy and protein that need.

Mealworms For Birds

Some birds prefer easting insects, like mealworms, over birds’ seeds. That’s we sell both dried and live mealworms for birds so that the bird that visits your garden can have food that suits their natural diet.

Peanuts For Birds

Peanuts have all the good fats and proteins that birds need to stay strong healthy especially in the colder months. Remember, peanuts from regular shops often have flavourings and coating that are unsafe for birds, so always go to a bird food specialist when buying peanuts for birds.

Plain Wild Bird Seeds

Here at Kennedy Wild Bird Feed, we have a wide variety of different seeds for you to choose from. Our plain wild bird seeds are perfect for any bird that is visiting your garden and will help keep them happy, healthy and well-fed throughout the winter months.

Suet For Birds

Our range of suet products are the perfect thing to leave out for the birds as the weather gets colder. suet is full of fat which birds need to store and keep warm in the winter.

Sunflower Seeds For Birds

Sunflower seeds are possibly the healthiest thing you can feed the birds that come to your garden. They have a soft shell that the birds will need to break through, which is great for strengthening their beak. If the birds that come to your garden are little on the small side and don’t have the strength or power to break the shells, then you can buy sunflower hearts. Sunflower hearts are just the meaty insides of the sunflower seed that have all the good proteins and necessary calories that birds need to stay strong and healthy all year round.

big garden bird watch results

In recent years there has been a trend for people to leave out nesting materials for birds to use in the springtime. We all love helping our feathered friends by feeding them and providing nest boxes, but do we need to provide them with nesting materials?

The short answer is not really – birds are perfectly capable of building nests on their own. Some birds are even exceptionally talented in this area. But it doesn’t hurt to help, right?

In this blog, we will look at how birds build their nests, and what we can do to make things easier for them.

How Do Birds Build Nests?

Most birds in the UK build new nests each year – although they may return to previously used sites, nests will need to be reconstructed. For each species of bird, this process is different.

Some birds are not particularly ‘houseproud’ and will build large messy nests resembling nothing more than a pile of sticks in a tree. Magpie nests can look quite messy but the messiest of all is the Rook. Rook nests look almost accidental as they often don’t have any structure to them and are made by the birds dropping sticks into trees until the base of a nest is formed.

For other birds, their nests can be compared to a work of art and many hours are spent labouring over these small wonders. Long Tailed Tits build amazing nests resembling small pouches that might leave you wondering how they possibly made such a neat structure.

Other common garden birds such as Blackbirds and Robins build nests resembling what most of us would recognise as a common nest shape – a cup. These small and neat nests are usually built in bushes or hedges and can take from a few days to weeks to complete.

Most birds build their nests in Spring, between March and April. Nests are usually compromised of a variety of materials but will nearly always include twigs, moss, and other vegetation, as well as feathers on the inside to provide insulation.

Many birds use a weaving technique to build their nests, carefully threading in new items with their beaks such as a stick or a bit of grass. This weaving technique ensures the structure is sturdy and won’t become dislodged by the wind.

However, some birds have adapted to living around humans and now take advantage of cosy man-made nest boxes or even buildings such as roof spaces. Even when birds use these more unconventional sites, they will still line their nest with materials to ensure eggs are provided with enough warmth to develop.

Other birds have always been opportunistic when it comes to finding a place to lay their eggs – owls, for example, are famous for using existing holes in tree trunks.

What Materials Do Birds Use To Build Nests?

As mentioned, birds will use a variety of materials to build their nests and some species will favour different materials and have their individual preferences.

Commonly used materials include stick or twigs, moss and grass, leaves, mud, feathers, fur from animals or sheep wool and…spider webs.

Yes, you read that right! Many types of bird will use bits of spider web as glue in their nests to join pieces together and ensure the nest is weatherproof. Although many people fear spiders this just demonstrates the importance of spiders in the ecosystem. Some birds use this natural nesting material more than others – the Long-Tailed Tit, for example, would not be able to build its miraculous pouch style nest without large quantities of spider web!

Nest Boxes

Although birds are very secretive when it comes to nest building, they will often utilise nest boxes provided by humans. Providing the boxes are positioned in a safe place where predators won’t be able to access them. These can be positioned in your garden and have the added benefit of being able to watch birds during the breeding season. If you keep an eye on a nest box you may be able to see (and hear!) the entire process of nesting, chicks being fed, and finally, fledging their nest.

Should You Provide Nesting Materials?

As mentioned, providing nesting materials for birds isn’t vital as most of the ingredients used in a bird’s nest are commonly found outdoors.

Some people provide pet fur for birds to take to their nests, but you should only do this if you have not treated your dog or cat with any flea or other parasite treatments. It is believed these medications may be harmful to fledgelings as they are likely to linger on the surface of the fur.

If you want to leave anything out for the birds to nest with, ensure it is a natural fibre and has not been chemically treated. Leaving out human hair isn’t a good idea either – long hairs are harder for birds to handle and fledgelings may become tangled in them.

There are things you can do to make nesting easier for birds though and that is by making sure their natural nesting materials are readily available.

For example, leave a pile of grass clippings out instead of composting them. Instead of rushing to clear up trimmed leaves from bushes, leave them on the ground for a little while or if you rake moss from your lawn, leave it to one side for birds to collect.

You could also keep a patch of your garden a little muddy – at the side of a pond would be ideal. This makes it easier to collect for birds using mud in the construction of their nests such as blackbirds, and if you’re lucky – House Martins. 

Another way you can help birds in springtime is by providing bird food regularly. At this time of year, birds are extremely busy looking for a mate or constructing nests. This all takes a lot of energy so food is important when it comes to birds keeping themselves healthy and raising their soon to be born chicks.