Did you know that garden birds should be fed all year round? Did you know that birds eat four times as much in spring and summer than they do in winter? Did you know that only about 50% of all eggs and young in the nest survive? Did you know that the birds’ energy needs are greatest in April through July during the breeding season? Did you know that a bird’s normal daily food intake is equal to 30% of its body weight? Did you know that small garden birds have a body temperature of 44° C? Did you know that you must provide a varied food diet in order to attract different species of bird to your garden? Did you know that garden birds prefer gardens that are not too well-kept? Did you know that you can make your garden more bird-friendly by planting fruit trees and berry-bearing bushes? And, of course, evergreen plants to provide shelter for the birds. Did you know that you can make your garden more bird-friendly by planting fruit trees and berry-bearing bushes at different heights? Did you know that it is a good idea to leave a few fallen apples on the ground for blackbirds and thrushes? Did you know that you should place nesting boxes where there is shade to avoid overheating in summer? Did you know that you should plan to have one nesting box per 200 square metres of garden? Did you know that you should clean the nesting boxes once the breeding season is over? Did you know that many birds also use the nesting boxes in winter? It is therefore a good idea to line them with insulating material so the birds can stay warm. Did you know that you should wear gloves when cleaning the bird table, bird feeders and nesting boxes and that you should wash your hands thoroughly after you have finished? Did you know that starlings are very sociable birds and prefer to live in ‘high-rise’ buildings? It is a good idea to erect several nest boxes above one another, in a large tree or on a tall post, for example. Did you know that you should clean bird tables and bird feeders at regular intervals? Did you know that garden birds must have access to water to meet their bathing and drinking needs? Did you know that access to a fresh water supply in the garden increases the number of birds by as much as 50%? Did you know that you must not disturb birds in nesting boxes during the period from February to August? Did you know that you can reduce your chemical pesticide consumption by having birds in the garden? Did you know that a pair of tits can eat approx. 35 kg of insects in a year? Did you know that birds are hungriest in the morning? Did you know that birds need an unhindered view from the feeding station so they can spot potential enemies in good time? Did you know that the birds prefer gardens with trees and bushes that offer protection and a place to build nests? Did you know that the ideal feeding station consists of a feeding table and a range of different bird feeders? Did you know that different species of garden birds have different food favourites? Did you know that different garden birds have different ways of eating their food? Did you know that it can take about 14 days for birds to realise you have established a garden feeding station? Did you know that birds benefit your garden by eating large quantities of harmful insects and vermin and that in the breeding season a tit family can eat about 5,000 insects and other vermin? Did you know that starlings eat daddy-longlegs and garden chafers that would otherwise ruin your lawn? Did you know that the size of the opening determines which birds can move into the nesting box? Did you know that you should only put out as much food as will be consumed in one or two days? Did you know that bird tables and feeders should be placed at a height where dogs, cats and other unwelcome guests cannot reach the bird food? Did you know that tits prefer to hang upside down when eating fat balls or from seed feeders? Did you know that sparrows prefer to eat from bird tables? Did you know that blackbirds, chaffinches and yellow buntings prefer to eat on the ground? Did you know that garden birds need very different nutrients and that you should therefore feed them different kinds of foods depending on the time of year? Did you know that garden birds love to take dust baths in summer? Did you know that it is a good idea not to prune hedges and other garden vegetation until the breeding season is over, i.e. you can start pruning from the beginning of August? Did you know that migratory birds are birds that migrate to warmer climates in winter and return in spring? Did you know that non-migratory birds are birds that remain in the country the whole year round? Did you know that climate change has caused several species of bird to postpone their migration and leave a month later than before? Did you know that man-made phenomena have led to a fall in suitable natural bird habitats? Did you know that garden birds are equipped with an instinct that tells them what nutrients they need? Did you know that birds reduce their activity to an absolute minimum in winter and instead use their energy to stay warm? Did you know that there are four times as many birds in summer than in winter? Did you know that birds eat most food in June and July? Did you know that you can start feeding garden birds at any time of the year? Did you know that about 435 different bird species are found in Denmark? Did you know that garden bird food should be stored in a cool dry place? Incorrect storage can cause the food to become too dry. Did you know that very often it is the same bird that occupies the nesting boxes year after year? Did you know that nesting boxes for tits should be placed approx. 15 metres from one another? Did you know that by feeding the birds you are turning your garden into an efficient ecosystem: The insects in the garden pollinate the flowers, the birds eat the insects and seed/fruit from the plants… Did you know that Denmark’s smallest bird is the goldcrest, which weighs about 5 grams? Did you know that the blackbird builds its nest from dried grass, withered leaves, twigs and soil? Did you know that the bullfinch male is one of the most colourful birds in Denmark? Did you know that that the blue tit and the great tit are in the same family? Did you know that you should move your bird table and feeders at regular intervals to avoid build-up of old seed and bird droppings? Did you know that you should remove old, wet food from the feeding station? Did you know that the birds’ are most active in spring and summer when they have to build nests and search for food for their hungry young? Did you know that migratory birds also come to Denmark in the winter? They fly here from northern regions of Scandinavia. The waxwing is one such bird. Did you know that the birds change their plumage at the end of August? Did you know that the tree sparrow is the commonest bird in Denmark? Did you know that the great tit is the commonest bird in Danish gardens? Did you know that a blue tit weighs approx. 11g? Did you know that blue tits raise two broods of 10-13 young in the breeding season? Did you know that humans have altered nature to such an extent that today birds are hard pressed to feed themselves? Did you know that there are about 1.6 million gardens in Denmark? Did you know that wrens use their nests as beds when they have no young? Did you know that climate change has resulted in a depletion of birds’ natural food sources? Did you know that you should avoid using chemical insecticide in your garden, as parent birds feed their young on garden insects, which can kill their young? Did you know that hedges make an ideal nesting place? Did you know that all varieties in our product range are subject to all year round testing? Did you know that birds sing to mark their territory and attract a mate? Did you know that birds begin building their nests in March/April? Did you know that garden birds change their plumage in August? Did you know that many garden birds raise their third and last brood in July? Did you know that it is a good idea to mix seashells in the food, as they are extremely rich in important minerals which the birds need? Did you know that fledged young stay with their parents for a couple of weeks to learn about life and its inherent dangers? Did you know that an average-sized garden can accommodate 15-20 pairs of breeding birds? Did you know that you can create a rich varied birdlife in your garden by providing a broad range of food products? Did you know that sunflower seeds are rich in oil as well as vitamins A & E, which are important for the birds’ plumage and sight? Did you know that many garden birds prefer black sunflower seed to the striped variety? Did you know that nuts should be served in a nut feeder, as birds can choke on them if they are served on bird tables?
We have used fat balls and fat balls throughout the year with the exception of the weed seed season.
Our two disused starling boxes were home to five broods of sparrow chicks each this summer.
Understandably we have a large sparrow population in the garden.
When the frost set in, they refused to touch the fat balls from ‘Nature’.
The balls were frozen solid and it was impossible for the birds to hack them with their beaks.
On my way to and from shopping, I see lots of untouched fat balls hanging in gardens.
When I stored the fat balls indoors and crushed them on the bird table after first removing the netting, the sparrows gathered happily round the bird table enjoying the food.
They were joined by a blackbird, a lone thrush and a robin.
When I hang the fat balls up at other times of the year, 1-2 dominant birds sit on the them and hack at the other birds that want to eat.
When I crush the fat balls on the bird table after first removing the netting, 6-10 birds sit eating happily at the bird table.
Your fat balls become so hard in frosty weather that the birds cannot hack them with their beaks.
1) Write clearly on the bag that the fat ball should be crushed//mashed/pulverised in frosty weather conditions – possibly using a hammer if the fat balls are kept in outbuildings.
2) Describe the problem in the press.
In frosty weather, the birds cannot hack the fat balls with their beaks and the balls are left untouched.
Answer: All our products, including our fat balls, are subject to stringent quality control and we know that the birds love to eat them. Our test panels comprise ordinary families who test our products in Danish gardens the whole year round.
A test panel is given an unlimited supply of bird food and we do not release or sell products unless they live up to the birds’ food intake requirements.
We use only the finest raw ingredients, place high demands on our suppliers and naturally monitor the quality of our raw ingredients and finished products.
Just as with humans, birds need different kinds of food. From our tests we know that the birds’ eating habits change according to the time of year. The birds actually eat less during the winter months. During the breeding season in spring and summer, the birds’ energy needs are up to four times greater than in winter. In winter the birds use their energy to stay warm.
To maintain a body temperature of approx. 44 degrees (the requirement for many small birds) the birds need energy that can be quickly converted, i.e. energy from carbohydrates which comes from grain, seeds and fruit.
The need for energy that is converted at a slower rate, i.e. energy from fat, is less at this time of year, as the body needs a great deal of energy to convert fat. This is why seed and seed mixes are consumed in huge quantities during the winter period.
Humans also require extra energy when it comes to high performance. Just think of a physical challenge such as a long-distance run. Then the body needs energy from carbohydrates because it can convert this energy very quickly so you can give of your best.
We therefore recommend that you serve a varied range of bird food as well as seeds, seed mixes and nuts.
You write that you crush the fat balls and spread them out onto the bird table. It is a really good idea to use different feeding methods for the birds: Some birds like to hang upside down when they eat while others prefer a flat surface.
When using a bird feeder, it is a good idea to first remove the netting so the birds can easily get at the fat balls.
In very cold weather with severe ground frost it is a very good idea (as you suggested) to lightly mash the fat balls before hanging them up in the netting. That way they become looser in consistency and it is much easier for garden birds to eat them. Everything freezes in frosty weather and fat balls are no exception.
You can throw a couple of fat balls onto the lawn when it is covered in snow and ice. You do not have to crush them. And a few apples. Blackbirds and thrushes will love you for it.
Now that it is really cold at night, it is a really good idea to replenish the feeding station in the morning. The birds are hungriest in the morning and will appreciate a tasty breakfast buffet with a varied choice of foods.
As you described, crushing or mashing a fat ball which has been left out in 10-15 degrees of frost is no easy matter so during the winter it is a really good idea to store the fat balls indoors. Keep them in a sealed container, in a bucket with a lid, for example. Alternatively you can (as you described) store the fat balls outdoors and use a hammer to crush them a little before serving.
We recommend that you feed the birds often but a little at a time. You should only put out as much food as will be consumed in one or two days.
Water is vital for garden birds – also in winter when the birds’ dry food intake is high. It is a good idea to serve lukewarm water. In our experience this can increase the numbers of garden birds by as much as 50%.
The birds will of course eat snow to survive if they cannot find a fresh supply of running water. But try and serve water – you can place a bag at the bottom of your birdbath so it is easy to dislodge the block of ice and fill up the birdbath with fresh water. Obviously if you use lukewarm water it will take longer for the water to freeze.