Bird fans in southwest Iceland are again calling on the whole country to do more to feed wild birds in winter. They fear that small birds are not getting enough to eat and say the economy may be the direct reason.
A diligent bird feeder in Selfoss told RÚV that a lot of people simply do not have the money to feed the birds this year; and especially old people, who are traditionally the most likely to feed the birds. She calls on others who can afford birdseed to begin feeding.
Jósefína Friðriksdóttir first began feeding two ravens in her garden 17 years ago, and now there are 20 – probably all from the same family, she believes. “I buy bread and soak it in oil to give the ravens and other birds which come; like the starlings, blackbirds and redwings, as well as giving them leftovers,” she says. “I never throw away any food. Ravens are omnivorous, eating whatever comes their way.”
Jósefína says that this winter has been particularly hard for small birds: “[The ground] has been frozen now for about a month and they have so little [to eat], the poor things. They are so thankful when I throw stuff out for them.”
Are other people doing enough? “I don’t think so. There are always some eccentrics and bird fans, like me, but it is just not widespread enough. I think the cost has an effect. I, for example, also feed the snow buntings. They eat just crushed maize, which I buy in 40 kilo sacks; but it is just so expensive to buy the food in small portions that people just can’t afford it,” Jósefína told RÚV.
“I am unfortunately a little afraid about it. An in addition to that you can’t feed the birds everywhere. I know of old people living in flats for the elderly who are not allowed to feed the birds. That is really sad because it is mostly older people who like to feed them.”
This story comes out on the same weekend as Iceland’s natural history institutes have been carrying out their 60th annual joint winter bird count; with over 200 people involved.
It also comes at the end of a weekend when lowland temperatures around Iceland have broken the freezing-point barrier for the first time in over a month; causing travel chaos as snow melts into deep puddles, slush and sheets of dangerous ice. (More on that story later this morning here on IceNews.)