Gym memberships may take off in January with our best New Year intentions but how about committing to a resolution that is good for the soul and great for nature?
As a way of keeping fit the simple act of bird feeding might not have a lot going for it but in terms of well-being, it can bring pleasure and a greater appreciation of the wildlife on our doorsteps - not to mention helping the birds at a time when ‘natural’ food is scarce.
This scarcity can come at many times of the year, not just in winter. For example, during the breeding season when dry spells can harden the ground and make it near impossible for ground feeding birds to extract worms - leading to a protein deficiency in the diet when protein is needed for youngsters to develop healthily.
Simon King, associate director of bird food company Haith’s, said that with natural habitats being gradually destroyed, the future of many birds rested on their ability to adjust from ‘wild’ to ‘garden’ birds.
When done correctly, the routine of feeding the birds can bring much enjoyment.
“Some days it’s happy families - other days it’s pistols at dawn and survival of the fittest, which in bird language often means survival of the biggest,” Simon said.
“That said, I’ve seen one or two robins square up to much larger species when there are mealworms on the bird table.
“There’s rarely a dull moment in a busy bird garden.”
It can also complement other interests, such as photography as birds make great subjects - they’re photogenic and display aerobatics with their feeding-station antics.
Haith’s say that it does not matter how big or how small a bird garden is, it is possible to establish a great relationship with wildlife.
“What could be more enjoyable than helping more birds to fly this New Year?” said Simon. “Give me a charm of goldfinch raiding a bird feeder bursting with juicy sunflower hearts, and I’ll leave the treadmill and Lycra running shorts to those who look better in motion than me. I’ll keep fit by filling the feeders and watching the birds as they prepare for the breeding season - that’s got to be better than Celebrity Big Brother any day of the week.”
To encourage more people to take up the hobby of bird feeding, Haith’s has introduced a specially priced ‘Help to Fly’ range of seeds, feeders and food - see www.haiths.com.
Some days it’s happy families - other days it’s pistols at dawn and survival of the fittest, which in bird language often means survival of the biggest.Simon King