This is the time of year when birds rely upon us most to feed them. Providing birds with supplementary food will bring them closer for you to marvel at their fascinating behaviour and wonderful colours. It will also reward them for sharing their lives with you. Feeding birds is also a great way to enthuse children about wildlife.
Supplementary feeding can’t provide all the natural proteins and vitamins that adult and young birds need, so it’s important to create and manage your garden to provide a source of natural foods as well, through well-managed lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds.
If you provide both natural and supplementary food, your garden will be visited year-round by a host of different birds. However, you may want to attract a particular species of bird, so what should you provide to encourage them? Here are some ideas to attract the following birds:
The Tit Family
These are small colourful birds of blue, yellow, white and green. Their natural habitat is woodlands, hedgerows, parks and gardens. They like caterpillars, insects, seeds and nuts. I find Tom Chambers Nice Nuts are particularly popular with them. They are a bird that likes to cling, so a Jacobi Jayne Ring-Pull Pro Peanut Feeder would be suitable.
If you would like to encourage them to nest, then use a box with a 26mm hole for most Tits and 28mm for the Great Tit. These should be sited in a north to east direction so they avoid the worst rain and heat from the sun. If you tilt the box slightly foward, the rain will bounce off the roof rather than go into the box.
Males and females are identical, with their familiar red breasts. The young are brown with golden brown mottling. Although they appear friendly to us, they can be quite aggressive to other birds and are territorial. They can be found all over the UK in woodlands, hedgerows, parks and gardens.
These cheeky birds are quite tame and are often seen nearby if you are gardening in the hope of a tasty morsel. They like worms, seeds, fruit and insects. The Tom Chambers Rockin’ Robin Feast is perfect for their soft bills. They are ground feeding birds, so a Tom Chambers Ground Feeder is ideal for them.
The Robin likes an open fronted nest box and the Tom Chambers Slate Roof Multi-Nester is a good choice because you also get 28mm and 32mm hole panels which can be added if a robin doesn’t use the box, to encourage other species of birds instead.
A highly coloured Finch with a bright, red face and yellow wing patch. Sociable, often breeding in loose colonies, they have a delightful twittering song and call. Their long fine beaks allow them to extract otherwise inaccessible seeds from thistles and teasels. Increasingly they are visiting bird tables and feeders. Goldfinches migrate as far south as Spain. Their habitat is scattered bushes and trees, rough ground with thistles and other seeding plants. They like orchards, parks, gardens, heathland and commons.
They feed on seeds and insects in summer but are partial to niger seeds. Tom Chambers Nyjer Nibbles is perfect, but as these seeds are so small and tend to fall out of a normal seed feeder, a dedicated niger feeder such as Jacobi Ring Pull Pro Niger Seed Feeder is a better option. You could use a bird station to hang the feeders from, such as the Tom Chambers Classic Bird Station.