Do you want to see more wild birds visiting your garden? From the food you put out to the types of feeders you use, here are our top tips for feeding wild birds.
What type of food should I put out for wild birds?
- Black sunflower seeds – well-used by Greenfinches and tits, they have thinner shells than the traditional striped sunflower seeds
- Sunflower hearts – a favourite with most garden birds, these are best used with a feeder. The shells have already been removed making them an easy feast
- Nyger seed – suited to birds with smaller bills such as Goldfinch, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll
- Peanuts – high in oils and protein, put them out in small quantities to stop them from going mouldy. Best used in a mesh feeder
- Seed mixes – a mix with a low grain content is the best option. Gardman No Mess Seed Mix is a good all-rounder
- Mealworms – a versatile food loved by many garden bird species, particularly Robins, Starlings and Blackbirds.
Types of bird feeders
- Provide seed to birds easily with a hanging feeder, either as part of a mix or on its own. Choose a feeder that’s well made and can be easily taken apart to be cleaned. The more feeding ports a feeder has, the more birds will be able to feed at the same time.
Tip: Metal bird feeders are less-easily damaged by squirrels, making them a better choice than plastic versions.
- Bird tables – choose one that’s robust, has drainage holes and can be opened easily for cleaning
Tip: Brush bird tables down every evening to remove any uneaten food as well as droppings – this will also help to reduce the attractiveness of your garden to rats.
Where to place bird feeders
It’s better to place several feeders in different areas of your garden, rather than having one large feeder; this will help more birds feed and enable you to use a different type of food in each feeder.
Tip: Position feeders close to a bush or shrub so that birds can quickly get cover if a predator appears. Avoid placing feeders low to the ground, where cats could access them, or near to a nest box that’s been occupied.
Tip: Move bird feeders around each day – not only will it reduce the chances of birds picking up diseases from droppings left near the feeders, but it’ll make it more difficult for predators to predict where birds will be feeding each day.
Species such as Dunnocks and Robins prefer to eat food from the ground rather than hanging feeders. Use a ground feeder rather than placing food directly on the ground, as this will help keep the area clean.