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Hints and Tips to Attract Garden Birds

Attracting different birds to your garden

What foods should I provide?

Black sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts are staple foods. Alongside these, peanuts, nyger seed and high-energy seed mixes are all greatly appreciated. There are other foods, such as sultanas (soak in water first) that are good for Blackbirds, while pinhead oats are ideal for fine-billed Dunnocks but should not be left out in wet weather. Finely grated cheese and windfall apples can be very useful, particularly in winter, while Suet treats are good for species like Long-tailed Tit. Live foods, such as mealworms, are readily taken by Robins, Blackbirds and Wrens.

Attracting different birds to your garden

Keeping things clean

Disease can affect wild birds wherever they occur, including those visiting gardens. As such, it is important to be able to recognise signs of disease and to adopt sensible hygiene measures to reduce the risk of disease transmission between individual birds.

Attracting different birds to your garden

Where to site your nest box

It is never too early or too late to put up a nest box. From June onwards, birds will be looking for nesting opportunities and deciding on where to rear their young. Providing the birds with a safe and comfortable environment in which to nest is the highest priority when siting a nest box. The nest box should also be accessible for maintenance, cleaning and inspection.

Attracting different birds to your garden

Making your garden work for nesting birds

Modern building practices and the destruction of natural nesting sites, such as cavities in dead trees, reduce nesting opportunities for garden birds. Fortunately, many birds will use artificial nest sites, with nest boxes providing a valuable role in areas where natural cavities are in short supply.

It is important, to understand how and where to place your nest box in order to maximise the likelihood that it will be used successfully.

Attracting different birds to your garden

Planting for birds

Making your garden attractive to birds isn’t just about providing food. With the right plants and shrubs, you can tempt even more birds into your garden by providing them with cover in which to roost, hide and nest. Other plants provide food in the form of berries and seeds, or those insects that are eaten by visiting birds.

Attracting different birds to your garden

Dealing with Predators

Although many birds and mammals are predators, we only tend to regard those that feed on other birds or mammals as being proper predators (cats and Sparrowhawks, for example) and worthy of the name. As birdwatchers, we sometimes get frustrated or concerned that predatory cats, squirrels and birds of prey are damaging the populations of the species that we preferentially care about (like songbirds) and we seek advice on how to minimise their impact.

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