Bird feeding stations are a great way to encourage wild birds to visit your garden and to support populations. There is a misconception that wild birds only need additional food over the winter months, and whilst it’s true that they can often find natural sources of food during the warmer months, wild birds benefit from extra food all year round. Birds need to build up an extra layer of fat under their skin to protect them from harsh weather and give them energy for flying longer distances and additional bird feed can help with that.

Not only will a bird feeding station in your garden help birds but it will also provide lots of opportunities for bird spotting and watching from the comfort of your home or garden.

Consider the Location

When making a bird feeding station for your garden, it’s important to consider the location. It will only attract birds if it’s well placed and thought out.

Birds want to feel safe when visiting so think about natural hiding places where they could perch or hide if they feel the need. Make use of any nearby shrubs, trees or fences in your garden.

You also don’t want to place your bird feeding station too close to your house as people coming and going might frighten nervous birds away plus if startled, birds might accidentally fly into windows and injure themselves.

Include Good Quality Bird Feeders

To make a great bird feeding station you’ll need to include good quality bird feeders. There are lots of different types of bird feeders, which can be used to hold different types of bird food and to attract different species of birds.

Consider the birds who already visit your garden and those you want to attract and that will give you an idea of what type of bird feeder will be best. A station that includes more than one type of feeder is ideal as it will encourage a variety of birds to use it.

A good one will include more than one level for birds to feed from and multiple perches so as not to get too crowded. Some birds prefer to feed lower to the ground, whereas others like to feed higher up in low tree branches, for example. If you can include a shelter over your feeding station, this will encourage birds to feed from it regardless of the weather.

Recycle or Upcycle

You can recycle or upcycle household items to make a bird feeding station. A simple bird table can be created from any cheap piece of solid timber. You can also make DIY bird feeders from all kinds of household items that are no longer used or needed such as plastic bottles and wooden spoons, teacups and even toilet roll tubes.

Making a bird feeding station from recycled items is good for birds and the environment and is an inexpensive way to encourage wild birds to visit your garden.

a bird feeding station with snow on the roof

Use High-Quality Bird Food

When you’ve made (or bought) your bird feeder, you’ll need to fill it with high-quality bird feed.

When it comes to wild bird food, there’s a lot of choice. Mixed birdseed is a popular option for attracting a diverse range of birds to your bird feeding station. However, you can also choose specific seeds like sunflower hearts for birds, which are a favourite amongst finches, starlings, tits and robins. Some bird food is designed specifically for a certain species, like blackbird and thrush food. So it’s a good idea to think about the birds that visit your garden already and any other birds you’d like to see!

As well as seeds, there are alternative bird foods such as suet for birds, peanuts for birds and live bird food.

Don’t Forget Water!

When creating your bird feeding station, don’t forget to include water! There is a misconception that wild birds don’t need water all year round but this isn’t true. Birds need water to survive. They will drink water to stay hydrated and also use it to clean their feathers.

You can provide water for birds simply by placing a bowl of it on your bird feeding station. Don’t place a bowl of water on the ground for birds because this will attract other wildlife too and may place birds at risk from predators.

You might also want to consider a bird bath as part of your set up. If you have a pond in your garden, birds will use this as a water source too.

Maintain Your Bird Feeding Station

After you’ve made your bird feeding station, it’s important to maintain it. Keeping it clean is vital to ensure the visiting birds stay healthy and don’t catch or spread disease. Aim to clean your bird feeding station weekly or every few weeks at least. Make sure it’s clear of droppings and old food and disinfect and rinse it thoroughly, making sure it’s dry before you add new bird feed.

It sounds obvious but it’s also important not to let your bird feeding station run out of food! It’s a myth that wild birds become dependent on bird feeders, however, wild birds visiting your garden regularly will assume that should they visit again, there will be feed available, and they may even make a special trip only to find it empty. In cold, harsh weather, in particular, this will have been a waste of valuable energy for the birds who will then need to hunt or seek food elsewhere.

Similarly, when providing water for wild birds on your station, ensure it’s replaced regularly so it’s fresh. In cold weather, check to make sure it hasn’t frozen over.