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Feeding Garden Birds UK

Updated on March 10, 2011

Blue Tit; a common bird to come to garden feeders

How to feed the birds in your garden

Those interested in feeding and attracting birds into their gardens will know about the vast array of feeders and feedstuff available for purchase in DIY and garden stores. However, often people stick to a single bag of peanuts and are then disappointed to find that they get the same couple of birds over and over again. This article will discuss how to feed the largest variety of birds, without going completely overboard in terms of finacial outlay.

I guess the major point I wish to make is this; a variety of different feeds will lead to a variety of bird species being attracted. elow is a list of cost effective feeds which can e used, and the species which these could attract:

  • Peanuts; the original and most commonly used birdfeed in the UK. Peanuts attract Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and House Sparrows. A variety of styles of feeder to contain peanuts are availale, however it is advised that the old-school net ags are not used as the birds can ecome entangled in them. It's also an idea to stop feeding whole peanuts during the breeding season when chicks can choke on them, either by breaking up the nuts or keeping them behind wire where only little its may be taken by the parents at once.
  • Sunflower seeds; these can be bought fairly cheaply in either the shelled or unshelled form. Unshelled are often better as it's easier for the birds to feed on them and also keeps the birds on the feeder for longer, rather than have them fly off to de-shell each individual seed. Sunflower seeds attract all finches, tits, sparrows, Dunnocks and Robins.
  • Niger seeds; these are excellent for attractiing Goldfinches. You can buy specialist feeders with narrow slits solely for Goldfinches' bills which are very inexpensive and should attract this species in good numbers.
  • Corn and smaller grains; these often come in packs of mixed seeds for a low price and are successful in attracting sparrows and finch species into your garden.
  • Mealworms; are available in both frsh and dried forms. These are quite expensive compared to the other feed-stuffs mentioned previously but, particularly fresh mealworms, are incredibly successful at attracting in Robins, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Blackcaps, Dunnocks and all Tit species. These will often disappear in no time at all which also adds to the cost aspect, but for a treat it's worth buying mealworms; for the birds and your viewing pleasure!
  • Fruit; a variety of old and bruised fruit can be used to attract birds such as Blackbirds, Thrushes, Starlings, Blackcaps and winter visitors such a Fieldfares, Redwings and Waxwings. Apples, pears, banana, berries and rasins will all be gobbled down by these hungry birds and because the fruit is not for personal consumption, it's possible to strike a deal with your local greengrocer to get a good price on the stuff they probably wouldn't sell anyway.
  • Fat balls; are cheap and widely available. When hung up they will attract Tits, Robins, Woodpeckers and Dunnocks. They can also be placed on birdtables or the ground to attract Starlings, Blackbirds and Thrushes.  To cut down on the price further, you can make your own fat balls at home using melted suet with any number of things thrown into the mix including all of those mentioned above.
  • Water; the cheapest of the lot! Even a plastic bowl of water placed on the ground will attract birds to bathe and drink from this often scarce resource in cities.

So try the hints and tips here and hopefully you should be able to attract a greater number and variety of birds into your garden, including perhaps the odd rarity such as Brambling or Waxwing. So put out the food on your lawn, table or in your feeder and sit back and wait to see what turns up!


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