Wild Bird Mix & Winter Feeders – supporting birds during the “Hungry Gap”
Wild bird mixes are areas of seed rich plants grown by farmers and left unharvested through the winter specifically to provide food for wild birds.
A mixture of plants such as wheat, linseed, quinoa, millet and sunflowers are grown to provide a range of seed sizes and types to appeal to a wide variety of seed eating farmland birds. e.g., yellowhammer, linnet, chaffinch, and grey partridge.
By late winter/early spring (Jan-April) most of the seed in these plant mixes, and the hedgerow berries, have been eaten. The wild birds can struggle to find sufficient food at this time. This period is often referred to as the ‘hungry gap’.
Between December/April, SLP members work collectively to put out seed, either in feeders known as ‘hoppers’ (pictured) or spread on the ground. The seed fed in this way is also a varied mix suitable for all these farmland birds.
At the beginning of the project members agreed to each install between one and three of these hoppers, placing them in areas close to habitat features such as hedgerows and wild bird seed plots. This provides birds with suitable cover close by, when feeding so that they can dart back to safety when necessary.
By mounting feeders on fence posts or in free-standing frames, it discourages unwanted visitors, such as pigeons and deer so that the song-birds have the most benefit.
The hoppers were generously sponsored by the NFU through a grant to the Partnership.
Hedgerows - Connecting People & Wildlife
Two of the SLP’s group objectives are to create a network of
wildlife corridors across the landscape and to connect with local communities.
The SLP’s hedgerow restoration projects have achieved just that – connecting
people and wildlife together.
Improving habitat for one species generally benefits many others.