Feeding garden birds can be so rewarding and as their natural food sources and habitat become more scarce, is essential to maintain a healthy population.
What birds you attract to your garden will vary with location, but what you feed and where you place your feeder can encourage a wide variety of visitors.
Picking the perfect spot:
- First thing is to find a quiet, sheltered area of your garden, a spot that doesn't get too hot or windy.
- Small birds will want to know they are safe from predators, this means placing your feeders in a clearing so that a bird can spot any threats from any angle, but also close enough to a hedge or bush so that they can dash for cover.
- Keep them away from cats! Hedges are essential for small birds but make sure they are not easily accessed by cats, any fences or platforms that a cat could strike from should also be avoided.
- Using squirrel safe feeders will save you money and seed for the birds, but if you are in an area with a lot of squirrels it maybe better to use a well placed free standing feeder rather than handing in trees. Free Standing Feeders can be greased to create a slippery pole to help to prevent squirrels climbing up to the feed.
- When feeding seed mixes, smaller birds will often throw to the ground what they don't want, which is usually cleared up by larger ground feeding birds. The down side to this is it can also attract rats. Placing an upside down bin lid around the bottom of your feeders, or some slabs that can be easily swept up will make cleaning up split seed easier and reduce the potential of rodents.
- Don't forget to regularly clean your bird table or feeders and remove any mouldy food to keep your birds healthy and help prevent the spread of disease.
What food to choose?
- Mixed Bird seeds: suitable for feeding from seed feeders, tables or on the ground, these garden bird seed mixes attract a wide variety of wild birds for a fraction of the cost.
- Nyjer Seed: a small seed with a high oil content, a favourite for finches, siskins and redpolls.
- Sunflower Seeds: much loved by tits and finches, their high energy content makes them a fantastic year-round food for healthy birds and sharp beaks.
- Sunflower Hearts: sunflower hearts will attract most species of birds to your garden but they are particularly loved by goldfinches and tits.
- Peanuts: packed with protein and fat and will attract tits, finches, jays, nuthatches, woodpeckers, robins, dunnocks and even wrens
- Suet and fatballs: highest energy feed for all birds but loved by blackbird, song thrush and robins, as well as, woodpeckers, nuthatch, jays and starlings.
- Meal Worms: a convenient way to feed insect eating birds such as Robins, blue tits, dunnock, pied wagtails, wrens and blackbirds.