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Spring into life and feed the birds today

Tuesday, 19th April 2016

Spring into life and feed the birds today ‘Turn your garden into a paradise for birds’ – wise words from Bill Oddie – our favourite naturalist.
Blue tit entering nest box ‘They need our help all year, especially when they are raising their young, so it’s vital that we feed them right now’. And do you know what? He’s right.

He loves birds, and birds love him, because he feeds them all year round especially during spring and summer as – surprising as it may seem – food is scarce when it’s warm and not just in winter when the ground is hard and frosts make it difficult for birds to find their natural food.

Bill has confirmed what we (and wildlife charities such as the RSPB, BTO, and Wildlife Trusts) have known for a while; that - feeding the birds has a tremendous calming effect on people who take the time to care and cater for wildlife – it’s a kind of therapy. Watching birds’ antics certainly beats sitting watching television or staring at a computer screen.

Mother Nature doesn’t take over just because it’s spring. Welcoming birds in to your garden is good for them and your garden – birds eat insects such as aphids, as well as slugs and snails, which any gardener knows, is useful in spring when they start eating away at young plants.

So where do you start? Well, let’s start with a home for your birds:-Nest boxes are readily available and we like our Classic Robin Box - great for that visiting, worm-munching Robin and it’s a good price too. If you require something that will last for years, our Schwegler nest boxes are made from a mix of sawdust, concrete and clay - making them rot-proof and predator proof, click here to find out more

So what should be on the menu? Putting out food is crucial to maintaining healthy bird populations, so our back gardens play an important part. Imagine all our gardens making one big nature reserve. It is one of the least threatened habitats, unless you want to lay down concrete or a patio…

One thing not to do is throw out great chunks of bread – this can swell up in a birds’ stomach. Instead buy your seed from a reputable supplier, they have seeds and mixes with all the nutrients and ingredients your garden birds really need.

Live foodsLive foods are high in protein, so are very useful during the nesting season, which is from now until the end of July. Mealworms are the larvae of a beetle, but make sure you feed them in the correct feeder otherwise they will escape. If you don’t like to feed wriggly live foods, try the dried ones, it’s best to give them a soak in water before putting them out if you can – the birds love them either way!

Suet in a feeder can attract birds like blue tits, great tits and long-tailed tits. Hang them in your garden, as birds love pecking away at something that’s delicious. Available in a range of different flavours, they will be an instant hit in your garden.

With many bird mixes on sale, we suggest looking out for ones that do not contain a high proportion of cereals, like wheat and barley, as these just attract larger birds such as pigeons. Our Premium Wild Bird Food is full of black sunflower and is wheat free – perfect for smaller garden birds.

Kitchen scraps like grated mild cheese, pure lard or beef fat, cooked rice, dried raisins and uncooked oats can be fed to birds. Avoid anything salty, leftover cooking fat, milk or cooked porridge.

Where you place feeders is important too. We would recommend putting a number of feeders around your garden, out of reach of predators. There are lots of squirrel proof feeders available which are useful against squirrels and pigeons. If you have overhanging trees or shrubs, don’t cut them back to far as they provide shelter and sources of food as insects live on them.

The two feeders we recommend are the Nuttery Cage Peanut Feeder at £27.95 and the Helix Seed Feeder at £26.95. Both are squirrel resistant and access is allowed to small birds only, they are also easy to fill and clean. For our full range of feeders, please click here.Providing fresh water all year round is vitally important. Birds like water for drinking and bathing. If you have the room why not build a pond, these are great for other natural life such as frogs. Bird baths are a suitable alternative, our Woodland Bird Bath is a favourite of ours, as it would provide a safe, ideal source of water for bathing and drinking.

What birds will visit your garden?
 
Blackbird

The Blackbird is a popular bird, and rightly so. Its beautiful song is one of the best, and it can usually be seen looking for worms or rummaging through leaves for insects. Also loves to peck at a suet block.
 
Robin

Robins are another favourite. With their trademark red breast, they’re tame and quickly get used to people being around. Unlike many other birds, the male and female have identical plumage, so you don’t know which sex they are. Try feeding our mealworms, they simply love them.
Blue tit

Blue Tits are small and fluffy, their colour scheme is unlike any other bird, pale blue and pale yellow. Very attractive and endearing, they will hang off feeders and branches.
 
Goldfinch

Goldfinches are increasing in our gardens and there’s no mistaking them. They’re black, yellow and red, have an ivory beak, that’s more pointed and longer than most seed eating birds, so they can pick out Niger seed. Also very fond of Sunflower Hearts.

For further advice and feeding tips, click here

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