New to bird feeding? Start with sunflower hearts. Most birds will enjoy eating them and they can be fed on the ground, on bird tables and in tube type feeders. This makes them very versatile as well as convenient and popular.
Birds beaks hint at what they eat. Sharp beaks suggest insect eaters, stout beaks are likely to be seed eaters and hooked beaks are carnivores. Put out food suitable for the beaks you see in your garden.
Birds have different defence instincts. Some prefer to hide and will only eat under cover of shrubs and trees. Others prefer quick wits and flight speed, opting to eat in the open where they can see potential threats before they arrive. Put out food in the open and under cover to offer stress free feeding for all the birds visiting your garden.
A wide variety of foods fed in different locations (ie on the ground, on a bird table and higher up in trees and shrubs using feeders) will attract a greater diversity of birds than simply a lot of one type of food and/or one table or bird feeder.
Birds need to drink water every day. Putting out clean drinking water daily (and ideally a shallow bird bath too) will give birds more reasons to visit and remain in your garden longer.
Keep bird food fresh and dry. If bird food gets wet or is exposed to the elements it quickly becomes sticky, clogs feeders and becomes inaccessible to birds. It also harbours diseases which can quickly spread. Ideally keep bird food protected from the elements and only put out what will get eaten within a few days. In very wet and windy conditions, it is better still to replace food daily.
Birds live with many threats around them. They prefer to feed in the company of others, as many eyes make safer feeding. Good bird food will attract a few birds, and a few birds will attract more birds. The better the food and the more reliable the supply, the more frequent and in greater numbers the birds will come.
Birds need extra help through the breeding season. By putting out a reliable supply of high quality food for the adult birds during spring and summer, you provide them with the energy they need to forage for their brood. Ark wildlife stocks niger seeds for birds which are increasingly popular. Help the parent and you help their young. The reward is seeing the next generation visit your garden soon after they fledge.
Provide a lookout. A tree or tall shrub are ideal but if no natural lookouts are available try erecting a high perch offering a clear view over the feeding area and ideally beyond. This allows birds safe arrival, before entering the feeding area but also a guard duty position over the area giving them even more confidence to visit regularly.
Sit down with a cup of tea (or something stronger) and enjoy your feathered friends. Feeding birds is not only good for their survival, they are also beautiful to see and hear. Never underestimate the joy and wellness they bring simply by their presence.
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