What NOT to put on your bird table


WE all know we need to keep bird feed­ers and baths topped up over the win­ter months to en­sure our winged friends weather the storm of win­ter.

But there are some things we shouldn’t be do­ing, which can risk a bird’s health and, in some cases, lead to death. Here’s the RSPB’s ad­vice on what not to do.

1DON’T put out fat balls in net­ting Fat balls may be a great en­ergy source for birds, but not when they’re housed in ny­lon net­ting, which is of­ten used for easy hang­ing but can end up trap­ping birds’ feet or beaks, lead­ing to in­jury or even death. If you buy fat balls, re­move them from any nets and put them in a safer, be­spoke hang­ing feeder or leave them loose.

2DON’T give them food poi­son­ing Foods to avoid which are dangerous for birds in­clude cook­ing fat from the roast or Christ­mas turkey mixed with meat juices dur­ing cook­ing to make a runny, greasy mix­ture.

This sticks to feath­ers and stops them from be­ing water­proof. It is of­ten full of salt, too, which is toxic to birds.

Other foods to avoid are dessi­cated co­conut, cooked por­ridge oats or milk, which can dam­age a bird’s gut.

3DON’T put out too much food

If food turns mouldy or stale on your bird table, you are prob­a­bly putting out too much for the birds to eat in one day. Many moulds are harm­less, but some can cause res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions in birds, so it’s best to be cau­tious and avoid mouldy food en­tirely. Al­ways re­move any stale or mouldy food promptly, as it pro­vides a breed­ing ground for bac­te­ria.

Keep bird ta­bles and feed­ers clean, wash­ing them reg­u­larly (ide­ally, us­ing a 5 per cent dis­in­fec­tant so­lu­tion) and move feed­ing sta­tions to a new area ev­ery month.

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