Bird Feeding Tips & Advice

When you start feeding birds the choice of foods, feeders and information can be overwhelming. Here we give you the basics to get started in bird feeding, simple tips that are proven to work.
Top 10 bird feeding tips
When you start feeding birds the choice of foods, feeders and information can be overwhelming. Here we give you the basics to get started in bird feeding, simple tips that are proven to work.

Top 10 proven bird feeding tips that work

Tip 1. Start by feeding sunflower hearts

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, such as the large Bempton bird table, and in tube type feeders. This makes them very versatile as well as convenient and popular.

Tip 2. Look at their beaks for clues

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.

Green Finch close up

Tip 3. Make space for shy birds

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.

Tip 4. Birds feed at different heights

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.

Tip 5. Water is critical! Add a bird bath

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.

Robin and Finch on Old Iron Bird Bath

Tip 6. Feed little and often for freshness

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.

Tip 7. Feed birds in more than one location

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.

Tip 8. Increase the food supply in spring and winter

Birds need extra help through the breeding season and cold winter nights. 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. Help the parent and you help their young. The reward is seeing the next generation visit your garden soon after they fledge.

Gold Finch feeding a fledgling

Tip 9. Allow birds to see potential threats

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.

Tip 10. Enjoy your birds

Sit down with a cup of tea (or something stronger) and enjoy your feathered friends. Feeding the birds is not only good for their survival, it’s also beautiful to see and hear. Never underestimate the joy and wellness they bring simply by their presence.

We have hundreds of articles on bird feeding and encouraging more wildlife to your garden. Please browse our Wildlife Guides and Blogs, covering advice for beginners right through to technical and detailed guides and how to;'s.

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