1.Choose good quality bird food

Choose birdseed and other foods carefully to select high-quality options that will attract more birds and keep them coming back for more.  Fill feeders with the most nutritious foods for birds, varying the offerings seasonally to meet birds’ different nutritional needs all year long, including during breeding season and migration.  Offer a variety of foods including nuts, suet, nectar and fruit to attract different species with different dietary needs and feeding preferences.

2. Feed the birds all year round

Feeding birds in winter helps them survive lean times, but these days it’s recommended to feed birds all year round if you can.  During spring and summer, the parent birds are raising their fledglings and need to find extra food to help them survive and grow.  This is especially important in urban areas.

3. Provide some clean water

Birds need water for drinking and bathing. Water is particularly important during the winter when natural supplies may be frozen, and in dry, hot weather during the summer when water can be hard to find.

Water to bathe in is just as important for birds, especially in winter. It is essential that they keep their feathers in good condition, and bathing is an important part of feather maintenance. Dampening the feathers loosens the dirt and makes their feathers easier to preen.

4. Position your bird feeder carefully

Make sure the bird feeders or tables are close to plants so the birds feel safer, and can fly and hide in them if cats are on the prowl.

To avoid feeding mice or rats when you put birdseed on the ground, put it out first thing in the morning and leave them just enough so that it’s all cleared away by nightfall.

5. Plant natural food sources

Choose plants that produce seeds or berries that the birds can eat. There are plenty of very pretty garden plants like pyracantha, cotoneaster, crab apples and sunflowers that both you and the birds can enjoy.

Common wild ivy is one of the best for birds. This is the most wildlife-friendly plant, but it needs managing. It provides dense cover, winter berries and nectar. It’s great for dark corners or shady walls and happy in any well-drained soil but is unsuitable for tiny gardens.

For small gardens try Sunflowers which provide masses of seeds and striking flowers in great colours from bright yellows to burnt toffee. They come in all sizes so are perfect for all gardens, or grow them in pots on a balcony.  Sunflowers can attract finches, tits, sparrows and siskins.

6. Keep it clean

Don’t forget to clean bird tables, feeders and birdbaths regularly to avoid a build-up of dirt and disease organisms.  Clean and sterilize bird feeders regularly to avoid spreading diseases amongst your flock and always be sure feeders are in good repair.

Feeding the birds has many benefits such as learning about the behaviours and personalities of your garden visitors and watching how they change season by season, enjoying the company of the birds, they can also help you control many of the insects in your garden by feasting on insects, worms, snails and spiders.  They help with pollination resulting in more naturally full flowerbeds.  Small birds eat seeds including those of weeds in your garden.

By understanding the benefits of feeding birds and taking steps to appreciate all those benefits, you can thoroughly enjoy every bird you feed.

 

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