Doing your bit for the birds; what to feed your garden birds to keep them healthy all year round

Peter McNish

According to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), people in the UK spend over £200 million per year on bird food, but are we really feeding our feathered garden visitors the right kind of bird food?

Up until recently, the BTO reports that the value of the British garden was overlooked as a way to help and maintain the number of wild birds living in the British Isles. As modern life has taken its toll on the countryside, bird lovers are recognising the value of the Great British Garden.

Gone are the ‘one bird seed mix fits all’ days

At one time, kitchen scraps would be the menu of the day for many of the wild birds in the UK, but since the ready availability of Sunflower Hearts, The BTO reports significant increases in population numbers of Goldfinches.


GoldFinch and Bird Feeder


Bird food which is rich in calories and nutrients are the best way to attract these little golden wonders into your garden and keep them healthy (and returning!).

Feeding the birds - once you start; don’t stop!

Of course, stocking up your bird seed feeder in winter is the perfect time to lend a helping hand - especially when the ground is frozen solid - but keeping the habit up is very important.

Keeping a regular supply of bird seed available can not only help wild birds to feed, but stops them from wasting energy flying around an empty bird feeder looking for a tasty morsel.

Big Birds Bullying the Smaller Ones?

A British garden will have a great mix of both small and big birds - but it’s a good idea to stop the bigger birds muscling their way in and eating all of the bird seed you’ve lovingly put in your outdoor space or garden.

Top Twitcher Tip:

Spread loose bird seed on small ledges or walls - this will stop the bigger birds being able to get at the seeding, leaving the smaller birds free to eat it.

No garden? No problem!

If space is an issue or you simply don’t have access to a garden, there’s still ways you can attract wild garden birds to where you live. We stock fat balls which are ideal for smaller areas where there might not be space to hang a traditional bird feeder.

Top Twitcher Tip: With all this talk of bird food, keeping your garden birds hydrated is very important - especially when feeding suet fat balls. Keep an eye on your bird font to keep it both clean and defrosted in the colder months of the year - a recently boiled kettle should melt any ice that’s accumulated.

Is your garden too tidy?

Your garden may be your pride and joy, but spare a thought for the wild birds looking for grubs and insects. Keeping some leaves, sticks and branches in your garden provides a great area for birds to forage for hidden grubs and worms. Keeping your bird feeder well stocked with seeds will help.

Our top 5 tips for keeping your garden a safe haven for wild birds

  1. Keep your bird feeder clean, and throw away old seed on a regular basis
  2. Windows can be a hazard for birds, especially when they are flying around concentrating on looking for food - try to keep your bird feeder away from windows to avoid any accidental bumps
  3. Hang your bird feeders as high as possible - this will help to avoid pests and predators from climbing up to steal the seeds
  4. Consider your garden plants carefully, berries such as hawthorn, elder and rose hips are a great choice when it comes to wild birds
  5. Never use insecticides or pesticides - these can be fatal for both small and large birds


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