Marching into spring

Marching into spring

We're on route to the breeding season – we're marching into spring - and now is a good time to review our foods.

The birds that have frequented our gardens throughout the winter months will all tend to hang around as regular visitors until the end of March and the ground feeding Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Wrens will be busy hopping around amongst snowdrops and crocuses.

A little spring goes a long way as daylight hours lengthen and bird song increases in variety. In fact, just look around and try to take in the changing landscape as everything’s bursting into life: insects and mammals are waking from their slumber; the year’s first bumble bees are bouncing sprightly around Mahonia flowers. How lovely it is to be finally marching into spring. If only there wasn’t a ‘polar vortex’ on the horizon!

At the midpoint of March let’s take a moment to thank the Robins for braving the wintriest, dark and dreary days for a sunflower heart or three. They’re surely one of the avid bird gardener’s best friends. Their wistful tune is/was/always will be ample payment as there’s no better reward for a birder than sweet bird song on a bleak winter’s day.

As temperatures rise (even by a degree or two) bird song amplifies with it. Indeed, now’s the time to get to know bird songs whilst it’s still relatively easy to spot the singer, whilst there are few (if any) leaves on trees. There’s no easy way to do this other than to watch, observe and listen carefully. ‘Repetition is the mother of learning,’ seasoned learners believe and that’s the only way to learn bird songs – daily repetition is the secret of success. Why not set yourself a challenge to learn at least the songs of the regular visitors? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that’s a Robin chivvying a Blackbird in the hedge? Or be able to identify a Blackbird’s panicky ‘chink chink’ if a cat or fox wanders into the garden during the breeding season?

We’re on route to the breeding season – we’re marching into spring - and now is a good time to review the foods we’re feeding in the bird garden. Birds need to be in great shape to endure nest building and providing for a family and we can make their life a little easier by providing good quality, clean supplementary bird food. Softfoods, for example, are perfect as they’re crumbly and moist with essential protein – they’re the equivalent of baby food for garden birds; perfect for parents and youngsters.

Switching to Huskfree Advance with dried mealworms makes good sense as key ingredients (Sunflower Hearts, Peanut Granules and Dried Mealworms) provide protein which builds and repairs tissues and is the building block of bones, muscles, skin and blood.

One of the best bird diets to feed during the breeding season is undoubtedly live mealworms as they’re protein-rich and provide much-needed amino acids. In contrast, a basic seed mix (low in quality seeds/foods) will be amino acid deficient and increase the risk of serious disorders for garden birds. An unclean bird seed mix will also contain enough dust to damage a bird’s respiratory tract so please only ever buy quality clean seed.

For the squeamish amongst us there are Dried Mealworms - these can easily be added to bird diets to increase the protein level or they can be fed straight out of the bag from a bird table, ground feeder and even from a tube type bird seed feeder. One thing’s for sure – the birds will eventually find and devour them.

We’re here to help you and your birds march safely into a successful spring breeding season. Please email or call 0800 298 7054 for more bird care advice.

Written by Simon H. King


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