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Encourage winter birds…

Attracting birds to your garden is easy by supplementing naturally available food with bird foods, and watch them flock in!

Remember to keep feeders and tables clean to help the birds stay healthy and disease-free. Making sure food is available at all times as food shortages can occur in both winter and summer, and birds have different needs throughout the year; such as feeding their young. Positioning the feeding stations in relatively open areas away from predators. Feeders near shrubs make it easier for cats to pounce; making them feel safer will encourage them to visit more! If your garden plants have fruit, berries, hips, seeds and nuts they will be a larder for birds, particularly in late summer and autumn. Holly, Hawthorn, Ivy, Rowan, Honeysuckle and Dogwood all provide tasty treats or attract tasty insects. But only put out what gets eaten as this way you won’t attract unwanted guest into your garden.

Also water is just as important as food to garden birds, and not just for drinking but bathing as well. So put out a bird bath along with your feeders, and always ensure the water is kept clean.

There are five main types of bird food:

  1. Straight seeds – as suggested these seeds aren’t mixed with anything! Straight seeds include sunflower, Niger, oil seed rape, peanuts and red and white millet.
  2. Seed mixes – with these the seeds are mixed into different blends, with the main advantage being that a greater mix of seed types attract a greater mix of species.
  3. Husk-free seed mixes – similar to the above but the seeds in these mixes have had their husks removed, so there is less mess to clear up and birds that can’t crack the husks such as Blackbirds can also eat the mix.
  4. Suet (also called fat) – Lots of birds like suet and it provides a vital source of energy for them, particularly in the winter months. This usually comes in the form of blocks, balls and pellets.
  5. Mealworms – a brilliant food to provide in the breeding and fledgling season.