Tips for looking after our feathered friends this winter

While we have the advantage of healthy diets, indoors heating and warm outdoors clothing, our feathered friends aren’t so lucky. Birds have a tough time during the winter months, and without adequate food they can quickly lose energy and find it hard to stay warm.

Every winter, leading wildlife fan and broadcaster Bill Oddie urges the public to make sure they keep bird tables well stocked to help our garden birds through to the spring. His Bird Food Recipes
YouTube Channel has attracted many thousands of viewers since its launch and is fast becoming the go-to place for online bird feeding information.

Bill has also answered hundreds of questions during the #AskBillOddie YouTube Q&A Sessions – but he was almost lost for words recently when someone asked a question he’d never been asked before. They asked:   "What time of the day should I feed the birds?"

Bill thought on his feet and came back with: “I’m sure birds will be grateful whenever they get fed as long as they get fed!” Then he added: “But I think there's a lot to be said for making it part
of your daily routine. In my case, I tend to go for a walk, then I have my breakfast and then I always, always, always feed the birds in my garden. It’s part of the ritual.”

He thought a bit and then continued: “I’m sure that very early in the morning is ideal. First thing in the morning would be better, and if you’d like to give it an occasion let me encourage you to aim for breakfast time. After all they do say it’s the most important meal of the day!”

Bill’s advice makes perfect sense, of course, as birds like their breakfast. They’ve been sleeping all night and theylose energy.

Bill said: “Birds need to warm up. And the bird food gives them that warmth and the energy they need to survive the day. You should ask yourself, ‘Have your birds had their breakfast?!’”

Top winter bird feeding tips

  • Great spotted woodpeckers like high-energy seeds, such as sunflower seeds, as well as peanuts and suet.
  • For a variety of birds in the garden put out different foods and include suspended feeders as  well as a bird table.
    Different birds like different foods and to eat in different positions.
  • Be consistent with food. Put it out, for example, every morning so that the birds know the routine.
  • Provide fresh water daily – and if temperatures drop make sure the water doesn’t freeze.


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