Birds in snow

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Where some snow has melted a Robin forages for food

The snow has dire consequences for many birds, mainly due to lack of food. Feeding the birds is more important than ever.

Here at Sheepdrove Organic Farm we feed the birds in several ways:

  • we grow and leave crops as winter food sources for seed-eating birds such as Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Skylark and Grey Partridge
  • we put out grain feeders for the partridges
  • we have nut and seed feeders which help a wide range of birds including House Sparrow, finches, tits and even woodpeckers!

Although certain species, such as Jay, collect and store food for winter, most birds are on a daily race for sufficient energy to survive. When it snows, many resources become inaccessible to the birds, and they have to expend more energy finding food and keeping warm.

The Barn Owl is a vulnerable species in snowy weather. During the recent prolonged periods of snow-covered ground, we saw Barn Owls hunting during daylight, which is a sign of desperation. So we provided dead mice for the owls, which we placed on prominent fence posts and perches.

A Tawny Owl’s woodland prey species are less likely to be hidden under snow. They can also take birds, as can Little Owl and Kestrel. The Barn Owl, however, is very dependent on hunting animals in grass habitat, which is easily covered by snow.

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