Frequently Asked Questions Answers Birds

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Frequently Asked Questions - Birds

Q. I've found a baby bird, what do I do with it?

A. The best idea is to leave well alone, as if the youngster has recently left the nest the parents will not be far away, often they continue to feed it.

The normal human reaction is to ‘rescue’ it which results in the bird being orphaned and that you have to feed it. It is better for nature to take its course.

Q. Should I feed the birds in my garden in the summer?

A. There should be no reason to feed birds in the summer when their natural food is at its most abundant. There is certainly no substitute for the insects and caterpillars that most birds feed their young at this time.

However, there is no reason why you should stop feeding completely in summer as it can be a supplement to what occurs naturally, especially in adverse weather conditions, it either being too hot or wet. The limiting factors to bird populations are nest sites and the availability of sufficient suitable food.

What you must take care over is not to provide unsuitable food, like whole peanuts that could choke a youngster. Concentrate on high protein foods like sunflower seeds etc and you can get advice on what to buy from any Essex Wildlife Trust visitor centre.

Q. Where have all the birds gone in my garden?

A. The birds that occur in your garden are not normally restricted to your garden. Whilst some birds can become territorial especially in the breeding season, most just pass through your garden on the search for food. Your Blue Tits might just be a few of the hundreds that regularly pass through your garden.

Bird populations are subject to peaks and troughs and some species are currently at a low ebb in the UK as a whole. Nature is very resilient and often a species that is missing one year will return in force another.

Q. What do I do if a bird is nesting in my roof?

A. Most birds are protected by law and you must allow the youngsters to leave the nest before doing any remedial work

Q. Is bread good for birds?

A. Unfortunately, bread is not the best food to give birds, as it does not provide enough goodness. Brown bread is slightly better than white but both should be avoided, if at all possible, if you want to give birds the vital ingredients to breed and survive. Fruit, seeds, fat balls, mealworms are all better alternatives.

Rather than feed the ducks and swans with larges quantities of bread that fills them up and gives them little nutritional benefit, give them a grain based feed.

Q. What do I do about the Magpies in my garden?

A. Magpies area natural predator of other birds and their young, but so are other birds. Unfortunately, Magpies are colourful and noisy and attract attention, and so get a bad press. On the plus side Magpies eat harmful insects and rodents

There is no proven link between Magpies and the decline of songbirds and there are a lot of other factors involved.

Q. Where do I put our nest box?

A. Nest boxes come in many shapes and sizes, but they should always be located

  • in a quite place away from other boxes and feeding stations
  • high up away from ground based predators
  • where they avoid heavy rain and strong sunlight, by facing between north and south-east.