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Wild Bird Feeding Guide 

Many people like to supplement their garden birds' diets with extra food - especially in the winter. This can be a real life-saver in extreme weather. What benefits the birds also benefits us with the attraction of getting beautiful wild birds and creatures into our gardens thus supporting our native and foreign birds.

 
 
 
  • The BTO and RSPB recommend wild birds are fed all year round.
  • Requirements are greater in late autumn and winter when natural resources are in a shorter supply.
  • High enery levels are also needed during spring when birds are busy breeding and raising young.
  • Birds lose energy maintaining body temperature overnight, so a good breakfast is essential to set them up for the day.
  • Once you have established a feeding regime don't disappoint them, they will depend on you.
  • Establish several feeding areas and move them regularly to avoid bacterial build up.
  • Consider predators when selecting suitable feeding sites, set table and feeder heights accordingly and make sure birds feeding on the ground have a good line of site.
  • Store all foods in a cool, dry place.
  • Be aware that ground feeding stations can attract rodents.
  • Always ensure ample fresh drinking water is available.
  • Feed little and often
  • Replace old or wet food to prevent build up of bacterial or mould, particularly  on table and ground feeding stations
  • Clean feeding stations regularly with a safe disinfectant
  • Always wash your hands after handling bird products
 
     Wild Bird Mix Black Sunflower     Peanuts      Peanut Granules   No Mess Mix  Sunflower Hearts Niger Seed   Song Bird Mix Mealworms Fat Balls  Suet Pellets
House Sparrow
 
                 
Blue Tit                    
Great Tit                    
Long Tail Tit                    
Chaffinch                    
Bullfinch                      
Greenfinch                      
Goldfinch                
Dunnock                    
 Siskin                      
 Thrush                    
 Blackbird                    
Wren                    
Robin            
Woodpecker                      

 

house sparrow (passer domesticus)

  

It surprises many people to learn that House Sparrows are not our most common bird, and that their numbers are delclining rapidly in rural areas. They are familiar to us because of their ability to occupy the human environment, nesting in houses or gardens. They feed on a broad range of foods provided by man, as well as their traditional diet of insects in summer and grain in winter.

The male sports a grey crown and greyish underparts, while the black bib contrasts with paler cheek patches. The back is a mix of rich browns and black patterning, though the colours are duller and she lacks bib or pale cheek patches.

What do House Sparrows eat? 

bluetit (parus caerlus)

  

Acorbatic Blue Tits were among the first species to appreciate the food value of peanuts, though they will also take a great many other foods too. Their small bills can cope with either the wire-mesh feeders or the red plastic bag type. They are often seen in flocks around feeders.

A Colour mix of Blue, White and Green with a yellow breast.

What do Blue Tits eat? 

Great tit (parus major)

 

The largest UK tit - green and yellow with a striking glossy black head with white cheeks and a distinctive two-syllable song. It is a woodland bird which has readily adapted to man-made habitats to become a familiar garden visitor. It can be quite aggressive at a birdtable, fighting off smaller tits. In winter it joins with blue tits and others to form roaming flocks which scour gardens and countryside for food.
 

What do Blue Tits eat? 

long-tailed tit (aegithalos caudatus) 

In most recent times, engaging Long tailed Tits have started to leave woodlands, and a purley insect diet, to feed on peanuts in gardens. In winter you may see several birds together - these will be the parents and offspring from the previous season. They weigh so little that they huddle together on cold nights to stay alive. In sping, you are more likely to see just a pair of adults come to the feeders. They are not shy birds and may let you get quite close. Diet consists mostly of insects but will eat seeds during winter months.

Look out for a small black, pink and cream birds with an exceptionally long tail. 

 What do Long-tailed Tits eat? 

 cHaffinch (fringilla coelebs)

 
Most of Britain's birds tends to be rather plain, but a cock Chaffinch in breeding plumage is a real treat for the eye. The pinkish-orange face, chest an belly are noticed first, but there is also a blue-grey head and brown back. The features to look for when the birds fly are bold, white wing bars and a greenish rump.

 What do Chaffinches eat? 

bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)

The male is unmistakable with his bright pinkish-red breast and cheeks, grey back, black cap and tail, and bright white rump. The flash of the rump in flight and the sad call note are usually the first signs of bullfinches being present. They feed voraciously on the buds of various trees in spring and were once a 'pest' of fruit crops.

What do Bullfinches eat? 

 GREENFINCH (CARDUELIS CHLORIS)

A chunky green and yellow bird, with a distinctive wheezy song, and sizeable seed-eaters bill, the Greenfinche is likely to be the most commpn visitor to your sunflower dispenser. These birds are great fun to watch as they are constantly battling with each other, and with smaller species for the best feeding positions. Through binoculars you can study how they rotate the seeds in there beaks to remove the thin husk. If you have dense conifers in the garden or close by you are quite likely to have Greenfinches nesting in them. Eggs are laid in April, and feeding the chicks places a great strain on the parents as they struggle to find any wild seed for themselves so early in the year. Garden feeders can make all the difference. The male Greenfinch has a smooth yellowish-green wing panels and a black tail. The female is more mottled and subdued in colouring, though still with a overall greenish appearance.

What do Greenfinches eat? 

 Goldfinch (carduelis carduelis) 

One bird that many people are surprises to see on their seed and nut feeders is the Goldfinch. Its delicate fine-pointed bill has developed specially to exploit seeds (such as teasel and forget-me-not) which are too small and difficult for other birds to eat.

However, during recent years, it has increasingly flocked into gardens and has learnt to battle for peanuts and seeds with its larger cousins. It is a feisty little bird and will often send a bigger bird fleeing. Its eye catching red and black face and bright yellow wing patches make the Goldfinch instantly recognisable. You can also listen for the musical tinkling song - they may be in your area even if you have not seen them on the feeders yet. Encourage them to your garden by planting up a wild area with thistles, teasels and other wild flowers, and let them form seed.

What do Goldfinches eat? 

Dunnock (prunella modularis)

 

Once known as the Hedge Sparrow, and now called a Hedge Accentor in some quarters, the Dunnock is our most overlooked garden bird. One glance at the thin, pointed bill is enough to tell it apart from the House Sparrow or the female finches.

Like a little grey-headed brown mouse, it probes in and around garden plants and leaf litter looking for insects and grubs, but will happily pick up seeds and fragments of peanuts that fall from birdfeeders.

What do Dunnocks eat? 

SISKIN (CARDUELIS SPINUS)

 

The siskin is a delicate green, yellow and black finch that breeds in coniferous forests. However, in late winter it's natural food of alder cones are in short supply, it will readily come to gardens, where it shows a marked preference for red, plastic nut bags. (Does it think they are giant alder cones)

What do Siskins eat? 

Song Thrush (turdus philomelos)

 

 Encourage a Song Thrush into your garden with apples and other fruits, and it's likely to repay you by eating the snails that devastate lettuce and other crops. Sadly, seeing a Song Thrush gets increasingly difficult as the population is in steep decline. Plain brown on the back, it has small neat spots on its breast and belly. Listen for its rich song, which features repeated phrases.
 
 
 
 

What do Song Thrushs eat? 

Blackbird (turdus merula)
 
This woodland species is one of the most successful garden birds, finding worms in lawns, insects in shrubs, and berries. Adult males are black with a bright yellow bill, but females, which may incubate up to five broods a year, are a less eye-catching brown.

Although they will eat a wide variety of birdfoods, Blackbirds are appreciative of apples, pears and grapes in winter.

What do Blackbirds eat? 

 

 

WREN (Troglodytes troglodytes)

The wren is a tiny brown bird, although it is heavier, less slim, than the even smaller goldcrest. It is dumpy, almost rounded, with a fine bill, quite long legs and toes, very short round wings and a short, narrow tail which is sometimes cocked up vertically. For such a small bird it has a remarkably loud voice. It is the commonest UK breeding bird, although it suffers declines during prolonged, severely cold winters.

What do Wrens eat? 

Robin (erithacus rubecula)

Britain's national bird presents no indentification problems, though you may be foxed when you see your first juvenille bird. Instead of the familiar red breast, baby Robins are camouflaged in brown spotty garb. Continental Robins come to Britain to escape harsh weather, so don't presume your wintering pair is the same one that bred during the summer.

Robins live on insects for most of the year, and will greatly appreciate live food such as mealworms.

What do Robins eat? 

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocropus major)

 

If your garden is anywhere near woodland, you may be able to attract a handsome bird to the nut feeder - and to animal fat smeared of tree branches. This is more likely to happen in winter when normal food (insects, seeds and nuts) is in short supply. During the summer, the male bird (identified by the red patch on the back of the head) will attack the peanuts for minutes on end and fly off with as much as it can carry to its tree hole to feed the female sitting on eggs, and later the young birds themselves. Great Spotted Woodpeckers are extremely wary and will not tolerate other birds on the feeder. They do not occur in Ireland and are extremely rare in Scotland.

What do Woodpeckers eat? 

 

 

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