Nourishing Irish Wild Birds During the Chilly Months


As winter blankets Ireland in a crisp embrace, our native bird species face a challenging time finding enough food to sustain themselves in the colder months. Offering a helping hand to these feathered friends by providing nourishment not only aids their survival but also brings the joy of birdwatching to your doorstep. In this guide, we'll explore what to feed wild birds during the winter to ensure their well-being.


Seeds and Nuts: A staple in the winter bird diet, seeds and nuts provide essential nutrients and energy. Opt for a mix of sunflower seeds, nyjer seeds, and peanuts. Sunflower seeds are loved by a variety of birds, while nyjer seeds are particularly attractive to finches. Peanuts should be unsalted and kept in a suitable feeder to prevent squirrels from monopolizing them.


Suet and Fat Balls: Suet and fat balls are a winter favourite among birds due to their high-fat content, which helps birds maintain their body heat in cold weather. You can buy pre-made suet balls or make your own by mixing suet or lard with ingredients like seeds, dried fruits, or mealworms. Hang these in suet feeders or mesh bags to entice a diverse range of bird species.


Mealworms: Mealworms are a protein-rich snack that many birds find irresistible. Blue tits, robins, and blackbirds are among those that will eagerly visit your feeders for these tasty morsels. You can offer live or dried mealworms, which are readily available at garden centers and pet stores.


Fruits and Berries: In addition to seeds and insects, birds appreciate a variety of fruits and berries during the winter. Apples, pears, and berries such as blackberries and currants can be sliced or hung on branches to attract thrushes, starlings, and other fruit-loving birds.


Fresh Water: Don't forget to provide a source of fresh water for drinking and bathing. In winter, natural water sources can freeze, making it difficult for birds to stay hydrated. Install a birdbath with a heater or place a shallow dish of water in a sunny spot, ensuring it stays ice-free.

Feeder Placement: When setting up feeders and water sources, consider their placement. Birds prefer locations that offer cover and protection from predators. Placing feeders near shrubs or trees provides a sense of safety for our avian friends.

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By following these simple guidelines and providing the right foods, you can create a welcoming winter haven for Irish wild birds, contributing to their survival during the colder months and delighting in the beauty of these feathered visitors to your garden. It's a small effort that yields great rewards for both you and the birds you help care for during this challenging time of year.