Looking for a New Year's Resolution? How About Helping More Birds to Fly...

That expensive gym membership may help the way the outside world sees us, but what about committing to a New Year's resolution that's good for the soul and great for nature; how about helping more birds to fly?

It may sound strange, but there's much written about the benefits of feeding birds, with supplementary bird feeding presenting a helping hand when "natural" food is scarce; and bird food company Haith's is encouraging more of us to take up the hobby of bird feeding for just that reason.

Often, this scarcity can be at times of the year when birds require nutritional enrichment such as 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.

However, there's very little written about the enjoyment people who feed the birds experience in return for feeding wild birds. It's almost as if it's supposed to be a chore.

"Well, it's most certainly a routine task when done correctly," explains Simon King, Associate Director of Haith's, "however; I'd never suggest that it is a chore. Although I do accept that we all have a certain responsibility to feed wild birds because - amongst other things - their habitat has been gradually destroyed leaving their future predominantly resting on their ability to adjust from "wild" to "garden" birds."

More than half of the UK's population feed wild birds and the truth is, it's fun! It's rewarding and enthusiasts get a great deal of satisfaction from observing bird behaviour and feeding habits as species learn to live together.

"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. That said, I've seen one or two Robins square up to much larger species when there are mealworms on the bird table!” says Simon. "There's rarely a dull moment in a busy bird garden."

Supplementary feeding is good for the birds and it's good for we humans, too. Plus it can complement other interests; for example, many people enjoy amateur photography and the birds make great subjects; they're photogenic and a reasonably priced camera will capture their aerobatics and feeding station antics.

Haith's say that it doesn't matter how big or how small a bird garden is, all that matters is that more of us decide to feed the birds this year - to begin a wonderful new relationship with wildlife and to enjoy embarking on a New Year's resolution to engage more with nature.

"What could be more enjoyable than helping more birds to fly this New Year?" asks Simon King. "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."



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