By feeding birds you can help them survive and take pleasure in watching them in your very own garden.

Top Tips

If you are feeding wild birds for the first time be patient. Our feathered friends may take a while to realise food is there and even then may be a little wary at first.

Once you start feeding wild birds, food should be provided regularly as the birds will become to depend on the food you will put out.

Do not feed
salty snacks, highly flavoured foods, uncooked rice or whole bacon, These can be fatal to wild birds.

To prevent overcrowding in feeding areas by providing several feeding sites around the garden. Avoid using sites near cover that cats or other predators could use to lurk in.

Feed peanuts through a peanut feeder so that birds can only take small fragments. This is particularly important during the nesting period between April and September.

Regularly clean feeding sites to prevent the build up of faeces and waste food.

By putting out a selection of wild bird food you will attract a broader range of bird species.


When to Feed Wild Birds

All year round! The RSPB and BTO approve of this because ...

During the spring, the female can be using half of her energy to produce eggs and the male will be defending his mate and territory from other birds.

In the summer, our hand-outs supplement the adult bird's diet, reduces competition between birds and allows them to feed their young with more of the natural food that they are foraging for. After breeding many of the birds are in poor condition and will moult their feathers.

At the start of autumn, many of our summer visitors need to build up fat reserves that will see them through their migration to wintering grounds in the Mediterranean and Africa.

The cold weather and short days of the winter months mean that birds can find it difficult to find enough food to survive. Small birds, such as those that visit our gardens, need to eat 30 to 40% of their body weight daily to survive.


Water

Birds need water for both drinking and bathing so ensure fresh water is available all year round.

To keep warm, birds need to keep their feathers really clean so ensure water supplies do not freeze up during Winter.


Hygiene and Safety

Outbreaks of diseases such as Salmonella and E.coli are a constant threat and can quickly spread from infected birds to healthy birds sharing the same feeding areas.

These guidelines should ensure that your garden visitors remain both happy and healthy.

Feeders, bird tables and particularly seed trays should be thoroughly cheaned on a regular basis as most diseases are transmitted via infected droppings. If an infection occurs, disinfect regularly.

Regularly clean up areas underneath feeders, particularly when black sunflower seeds are being fed as the husks can pile up.

Make sure that food is not left out on the ground at night as rats and mice can be attracted.

Move bird tables and feeders around the garden or, if possible, have several different feeding sites within the garden and keep them spread out to avoid having large numbers of birds in one location at the same time.

Keep surfaces on which birds feed clean. Sweep bird tables daily and regularly provide ground-fed foodsin a different place.

Observe strict personal hygiene when handling bird feeders and tables, particularly if infection has occurred. Some bird diseases can be transmitted to humans so we recommend you wear gloves when cleaning and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Feeders should not be cleaned indoors or near food preparation areas.

If water is provided in bird baths or other drinking devices, change it regularly. Disinfect and rinse these containers on a regular basis and de-ice during cold weather. Don't be tempted to use anti-freeze, salt or glycerine as it can be harmful to the birds.