There's much written about the benefits of feeding the birds; supplementary bird feeding presents a helping hand when "natural" food is scarce.
Often, this scarcity can be at times of the year when birds require nutritional enrichment such as during the breeding season when dry spells can harden the ground and make it near impossible for ground feeding birds to extract worms - leading to a protein deficiency in the diet when protein is needed for youngsters to develop healthily.
"Well, it's most certainly a routine task when done correctly," explains Simon King, Associate Director of Haith's, "however; I'd never suggest that it is a chore. Although I do accept that we all have a certain responsibility to feed wild birds because - amongst other things - their habitat has been gradually destroyed leaving their future predominantly resting on their ability to adjust from "wild" to "garden" birds."
More than half of the UK's population feed wild birds and the truth is, it's fun! It's rewarding and enthusiasts get a great deal of satisfaction from observing bird behaviour and feeding habits as species learn to live (and dine) together. "Some days it's happy families - other days it's pistols at dawn and survival of the fittest, which in bird language often means survival of the biggest. That said I've seen one or two Robins square up to much larger species when there are mealworms on the bird table!” says Simon. "There's rarely a dull moment in a busy bird garden."
If you're reading this and wondering if feeding the birds is for you, it is. It's definitely for you and it's definitely for all of us.
"What could be more enjoyable than helping more birds to fly this New Year?" asks Simon King. "Give me a charm of Goldfinch raiding a bird feeder bursting with juicy sunflower hearts, and I'll leave the treadmill and Lycra running shorts to those who look better in motion than me. I'll keep fit by filling the feeders and watching the birds as they prepare for the breeding season. That's got to be better than Celebrity Big Brother any day of the week."
How to get started:
Visit Haith's "Help to Fly" page as they've committed to keeping a range of seeds, feeders and foods available at special prices to encourage more people to help birds fly.
Happy New Year
Simon and all at Haith's