Feeding Wild BirdsTop tips for taking care of the different types of birds in your garden
Feeding the wild birds in your garden or at your window can help them to get through particularly difficult times in the year, such as winter, when they can’t scavenge for food so easily by themselves. They’ll be grateful for your kindness and are likely to return for more helpings of bird food, brightening up your garden with their colourful plumage – every bird watcher’s dream!
Different species of birds eat different things, so make sure to do a bit of research before setting out bird food for your feathered friends. Sparrows and finches like seeds; tits like fat; and thrushes and robins like fruit and worms. Some birds, such as robins, will only eat from the ground – either a ground feeding tray or a bird table is recommended for when robins decide to stop by for their dinner.
Some of our own food can be good to feed wild birds, such as fruit cake or mince pies, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, or apples/pears. However, avoid anything mouldy or salty that could make birds unwell. Be conscious of leaving any dried fruit out within your house if you are also a dog owner, as things such as sultanas and raisins are highly poisonous to our canine companions.
Consider investing in a squirrel proof bird feeder so that the food you are putting out actually gets to the right recipients; squirrels won’t hesitate to leap in for a free meal.
When you set food out for the birds, whatever is left at the end of the day should be removed. This is to prevent the food from going mouldy and attracting rats. You can always put some more fresh out the next day – don’t take the risk of leaving bird food out overnight in your bird feeder.
Birds need to drink and bathe daily, even during winter. A pond or bird bath are both great options, but other objects such as an upturned bin lid or a plant saucer can be useful alternatives. Whatever you use, make sure that your bird bath is changed daily and kept clean, with fresh water always available.
Dirty bird feeders and bird tables can cause the spread of diseases, so it is vital that you clean them regularly to help keep your garden birds healthy. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after setting out food or cleaning out bird feeders and baths – you don’t want to pick up any potential germs either!