How to help birds through the winter

Helping birds through the winter. With tips

After a mild autumn, it’s the harshest time of year for birds. Winter. The cold nights are long, the days for foraging are short. And there is already so little food to be found in the winter months.

High time to lend a helping hand.

Bird watching

My parents recently got a super cute birdhouse that you hang on the window with suction cups. When a bird visits this house, you can see it from the other side of the window. Super fun and good for the birds too.

Because with these cold days and nights, we may well give them a little extra help by providing food. I received this press release via the Vogelbescherming Nederland and am happy to share it here. And if you love birds, the National Garden Bird Count is starting on Friday.

What you can do for the birds in winter

1. Fat

Birds use a lot of energy in the winter months, this is the only way they can survive the cold. So a fatty snack in the winter is no luxury, it literally keeps them warm. Suet balls (without a net!) you can buy, but they are also very easy to make yourself. Use unsalted frying fat, melt it in a pan and add bird food.

Let it dry in the shape you want, for example a turban or a cup.

2. Sunflower seeds and peanuts

Sunflower seeds also contain a lot of fat, the black ones more than the striped ones. Don’t want any clutter in the garden? Then feed peeled sunflower seeds.
Black and blue tits, nuthatches, siskins and woodpeckers love peanuts. Feed peanuts in a silo or string them on a chain. Tip: pre-puncture the peanuts with a nail, that makes threading a lot easier.

You can also hang up a jar with bird peanut butter. Do not use regular peanut butter, it has too much salt in it. Click here for this product

3. Nest box

Birds use nest boxes not only in spring. In winter it is a good place to hide and spend the night. They don’t always do that alone, some birds huddle together in a box to stay warmer. In England, 13 wrens were once counted in one nest box!

Also buy a birdhouse? Click here for several articles

4. The more natural the better

A tree or bush not only looks nice in the garden, it is also a magnet for birds. It’s a place to hide, nest and find food. Most trees and shrubs are planted when they are dormant, i.e. in winter. Choose bushes with berries, birds love them in winter. And in the warm months enjoy the flowers yourself.

Good varieties are Hawthorn, rose hip, ivy, cardinal’s hat or currant tree.

5. Messy corner for the birds

A clutter corner is the corner of the garden that you don’t do much with. Actually a piece of garden where you leave things as they are. This is where plants can do their thing. Put down some branches and stones and possibly stack them up to form a kind of wall.

Don’t throw the fallen leaves in the garbage bin, but sweep them here in a pile. How easy do you want to make gardening?!
Such a clutter corner is an ideal place for birds, small animals, insects and hedgehogs. Blackbirds, house sparrows, dunnocks and robins love cluttered corners. Between the branches and leaves they find little bugs to eat even in winter. In the plants the birds find cover.

And once it becomes spring? Then they build their own nest here.

6. On the lookout

Who feeds well, sees many birds in the garden. And those who start feeding now will enjoy it all winter long. For example at the National Garden Bird Count on January 25,26 and 27.

Mark in the agenda and join! Take half an hour on one of these days and count the birds in the garden. Here’s how you help Bird Conservancy collect information about birds.

And more information means better protection.


Garden Bird Count 2022

These tips come from Vogelbescherming Nederland. And now if you really have a heart for the birds, you can always join the National Garden Bird Count on Jan. 28,29,30. Those who register now at bird census.En receive preview emails with extra tips and more.

Do you have a birdhouse in the garden?

photo’s Jelle de Jong and the picture of the birdhouse comes from my parents.