Its Easter and there is the sound of chicks in the old swallow nest attached to our sunroom. This concerns me as 2013 has been the coldest Easter in 100 years. We still have snow and its very cold. I know that wild bird chicks need catepillars, and greenfly to survive and there will be very few (if any) of these around – I haven’t even seen a bumblee bee this year! I want to give them some help (food that parents can take into the nest) and here are some useful links that I have found:
Advice from RSPB
“Temporary food shortage can occur at almost any time of the year, and if this happens during the breeding season, extra food on your bird table can make a big difference to the survival of young. Avoid using peanuts, fat and bread at this time, since these can be harmful if adult birds feed them to their nestlings. If you feel you must put out peanuts, only do so in suitable mesh feeders that will not allow sizeable pieces of peanuts to be removed and provide a choking risk.
Meaty tinned dog and cat food form an acceptable substitute to earthworms during the warm, dry part of the summer when worms are beyond the birds’ reach. Blackbirds readily take dog food, and even feed it to their chicks.
Dry biscuits are not recommended as birds may choke on the hard lumps. It is sometimes added to cheaper seed mixtures for bulk. Soaked dog biscuit is excellent, except in hot weather as it quickly dries out. Petfood can attract larger birds such as magpies and gulls, and also neighbourhood cats. If this is likely to be a problem, it is best avoided.”
In an emergency I am considering putting the following on my bird table for the parents to feed their chicks:
- Yolk from hard-boiled eggs mixed with crushed, soaked cat biscuits, mealworms, finely chopped tinned cat or dog food, and some chick crumbs.
I also thought the advice on this webpage would be useful should I come across an abandoned chic: