Your garden birds need you

Written by on February 12, 2019 in Pets And Animals

A blue tit feeds from a bird ball in a garden in winter

There has been a sharp decline in many common garden birds across the whole of Europe over the last 40 years.  Winter and early Spring often present bleak and extremely cold conditions, with long periods of sub-zero temperatures in many parts of France.  It’s important to remember that birds die of hunger, rather than cold, at this time of year, which is why supplementary feeding is so important.  Not only do birds have to hide from the worst of the weather, but they also have to carry on looking for food at a time when seeds, insects and worms are very difficult to access. Small-bodied birds in particular will need to eat almost continuously to stay alive and restore the body weight they lose, but nature offers up little in the way of nourishment, especially when there is snow around.  So, what are the practical measures you can take to help?

Offer food regularly

Birds need to know they have a regular supply of food if they’re going to visit your feeders, so top them up first thing in the morning and again in the late afternoon if necessary.

A chaffinch feeds from a canister of seeds in the snowFeed high-calorie seed mixtures

There will be many species using your feeders, so offer food that will cater for as many of them as possible and is also rich in energy to compensate for the cold weather. For example, our Hi-Energy Pur product is full of premium quality ingredients and is specially formulated for wide appeal, which is why it has been a customer favourite for over fifteen years.

Provide fresh drinking water

You may already have a bird bath, but they are often frozen over when temperatures plummet and that means birds can find it difficult to get access to fresh drinking water. Try to go out every morning to break the ice on the surface, or just melt it with a jug of tepid water if you prefer.

Add shelter for them to hide in

Although even the smallest birds will fluff up their feathers and hide in dense trees or hedgerows to get away from biting winds and snow, it’s better to offer them some form of proper shelter if you can. This is a good time to invest in a nest box, which you can put up facing somewhere between north through to south-east away from draughts, on something like the side of a shed, house or tree.  Vivara has a wide range of nest boxes for most bird species, in a variety of attractive styles and finishes.

You may not be able to invite your feathered friends into your home for a warm in front of the fire, but you can do the next best thing for resident garden birds by following this advice to guard them against the cold weather.

You can get everything you need for the wildlife in your garden delivered to your door in France from our website If you would rather speak to somebody in English, please call 08 10 10 98 08, where our English-speaking team would be glad to help.

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