Feeding wild birds has certainly gained popularity over the last few years and so it should. We are using more and more woodlands for commercial and domestic developments thus drastically reducing the natural habitat for birds when it comes to both nesting and feeding. The least we can do then is to provide them with food throughout the year and the opportunity to nest. As well as helping our wildlife it is also great fun watching who comes into our gardens and what they get up to! So, we have put together below, a list of five well-known bird species that will visit your garden, and what they like to eat.
Everyone can recognise the common Sparrow. These stout-bodied creatures are very social birds and history tells us that the Romans actually tried keeping Sparrows as pets. These birds can be found in most gardens and will eat a great variety of seeds from sunflower hearts, peanuts, wheat but their favourite is millet. Why not try our sparrow mix out too, which has a great amount of our grown red and white millet seeds in it!
Probably one of the most welcome wild bird visitors to the garden is the common Blackbird and for anyone who gets confused over male/female, the male is all black with a yellow eye-ring and bill. Females are mainly dark brown with no yellow. If you feed Blackbirds throughout the winter, the male and female will remain in the area all year. Blackbirds are softbill birds, they love to eat fruit such as raisins, mealworms, rolled oats and suet pellets. Have a look at our food for blackbirds page for further tips! And remember, blackbirds will eat from the ground, so they can't reach a traditional seed feeder to eat.
Smaller than the great tit, recognisable by their colours of yellow, white, blue and green and overall cute ability These acrobatic birds can adapt to nest in wild bird nest boxes, as they usually nest in any hole in a tree. Blue Tits have a reputation as a "Pest Assassin” and are especially fond of aphids and coccids. The downside is that they can pull apart the young buds of trees to locate insects. If you are putting out food to attract them to your garden, they like peanuts, mixed bird seed, sunflower hearts and suet pellets/suet balls. They will also nearly always be the first to try anything new you put out in the garden!
Top Tip: Try peanut butter for birds if you are trying to get a blue tit in your garden, they love it! A mixture of the fats from suet and the peanuts really is the perfect marriage for them!
The most widely known wild bird in the garden, no doubt because it has starred on the covers of hundreds of thousands of Christmas cards. Contrary to some people’s thoughts, this little bird can be seen all year round and not just winter. If you want to identify male and female of the species, good luck: male and female robins look identical. The food they eat include mealworms, suet and fruit such as sultanas and raisins.
Top Tip: If you feed a robin for long enough you can train them to literally eat out of your hand! Live mealworms work especially well if you have the nerve to hold them!
Chaffinches, the male with his attractive pink breast and slate blue head, they spend much of their time feeding on the ground, happily eating the food under seed feeders or bird tables. They are quite sedentary birds and the same individuals may be around in your garden for four or five years. They feed on insects and small seeds that other garden birds throw out of your feeder.
In addition, most birds will eat some suet as it is rich in fat and proteins that will provide wild birds with energy in the winter months. A word of warning, never feed wild birds any kind of salted food as this will have serious repercussions as it will cause them to dangerously dehydrate.
The best way to ensure that you provide the wild birds in your area with the right food is by using wild bird food mixes. These can be either formulated mixes which generally appeal to all birds, or specific packs such as a Robin Insect wild bird mix which contains small grains, peanut grains, sunflower hearts, dried meal-worms, suet pellets and raisins.