Feed the Birds

Wildlife in the Garden

Robins are an essential bird in our gardens

Do you know birds can lose over a third of their body weight in their fight to keep warm during a night of arctic weather? When morning comes it is vital they find food if they are going to survive. Luckily for our garden wildlife we seem to be a nation of bird lovers as almost half of the adult population in the UK will put out bird food in winter. While the scraps from our breadboards are fine and it is certainly better than nothing at all, if you really want to help the birds, check out the wide range of wild bird food available. You will find seed mixes, dried berries and fruit together with mealworms, so essential for the robin, and lard balls, which most of our native garden birds will happily tuck in to. Lard balls will also help to attract less common species such as the Great Spotted Woodpecker.

It may not be obvious, but different birds have different feeding habits. Robins, blackbirds and wrens are known as ground feeders, so need a bird table, while suspended feeders are ideal for greenfinches, tits and sparrows. This means apart from considering what to put out for the birds, we also need to think where we are going to put the food.

Invest in a bird table, feeders, wild bird food containers and nesting boxes, which can provide essential cover during harsh weather conditions. Feeding birds in the winter will pay dividends as you will find they become used to visiting your garden for food and during the summer months will help keep your garden free of insects and bugs.
Find out about shrubs that bear berries during the winter months and choose perennials such as sedum and yarrow that carry seed heads after flowering as these can provide a vital food source for birds and insects. Fed up with slugs and snails eating your tender young plants? Make your garden hedgehog friendly and you never need worry again as hedgehogs can eat up to 200grams of insects in one night!

Hedgehogs as their names suggests, live mostly in hedges and in the last decade, their numbers have dropped by an all time low of 25%. There are a number of reasons for this including the fact we tend to put up fences rather than grow hedges in our gardens. You can provide shelter by creating your own natural woodpile if you don’t keep logs for an open fire or even pile up your autumn leaves in a quiet corner of the garden, under which the hedgehogs will happily burrow. There you have it, nothing really complicated is there? So what will you do to encourage extra wildlife into your garden?

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