The winter can be a tough time of year for birds. However, you can give your feathered friends a helping hand. Attracting birds to your garden will be more successful, if they have a place that makes them feel secure and comfortable even in the worst weather. So providing shelter like roosting or nest boxes will help birds to conserve valuable energy, in particular during frosty winter nights and winter storms.
Whilst doing a bit of research around this contentious topic, it became quickly apparent that there is no study or paper to find, which conclusively proves that feeding bread to waterfowl is the sole cause for the development of angel wing deformities. Despite this fact, most wildlife and waterfowl experts seem to agree that the overwhelming cause of angel wing is an unhealthily high protein and / or carbohydrate based diet. Unsurprisingly, it was not difficult to find plenty of advice and warnings suggesting not to feed bread to birds, and in particular not to waterfowl. However, with all the advice being provided, no scientific references were given, which would certainly help to clarify and understand the situation.
During the summer months birds require high protein foods, especially during their moult. During cold winter weather birds will benefit from high-energy or high-fat foods, which will help them to maintain their fat reserves and to survive frosty nights. Autumn is the time to change the composition of bird foods offered and perhaps the arrangement of your feeders. It is relatively easy to plan for winter bird feeding.
What have cats, cars and wildlife in common? Cats are domesticated companion animals, cars are manmade machines, and both are able to kill living beings when not supervised or controlled. Cars kill cats and wildlife, and cats kill wildlife too. Neither of both scenarios is ‘natural’, both are artificial and manmade. So what is the impact, and what can be done to keep both, our beloved companion cats and wildlife, safe?
A grounded premature rook or crow with white, brittle or partly broken wing and tail feathers needs expert and longterm care to allow the damaged feathers to be replaced during their annual moult. Birds affected should not be released before their complete annual moult, which happens for fledglings born this year in the summer of the following year. Otherwise it will be unlikely that these birds are going to survive their first winter, as the deficient plumage will quickly deteriorate further. This usually means that these birds will eventually become grounded. They will get easily wet and hypothermic, are prone to predation and will soon be unable to sustain themselves.