Are you interested to learn about bird feeding for beginners? Giving food to birds helps to ensure the survival and success of our wild birds in the UK. However, when supplying wild bird feed to attract a diverse range of species, it’s crucial to remember a few simple rules. In this article, we will discuss bird feeding for beginners.
It’s critical to continue feeding wild birds throughout the year after you’ve started, as wild birds will begin to regard your garden as a regular source of nutrients.
Bird feeding for beginners
Feeding birds during the cooler months is a priority, according to the BTO, specialists on all things birdy, because wild birds need to keep plump to survive.
Birds prefer to feed early in the morning and late in the afternoon, especially during the winter, so make sure bird feed is accessible at these times.
Obviously, extra feeding is recommended all year, but it is especially important during the mating season in early spring when parents will be looking for food for their young brood as well as themselves.
Bird Tables vs. Feeders
The species you will attract is mostly determined by the type of feeder you use or the manner in which you distribute your wild bird food. Many of the more common wild bird species will be attracted to a regular mixed bird meal placed on a bird table or on the ground.
Smaller birds that can cling on a mesh exterior or a perch will be attracted to feeders. You might also start introducing specialized feeders like Nyger Feeders, which are intended to take the tiny Nyger Seed, which is a particular favorite of finches, to attract a larger range of wild birds.
Get up close and personal with wild birds as they eat from a window feeder. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and they’re great for identifying species and observing their particular personality features.
Whatever way of feeding you pick, whether its ground, table, or feeder, remember to keep hygiene in mind. Feeders should ideally be cleaned every time they are refilled to prevent the growth of bacteria that could bring sickness to our wild birds. For tips on how to clean your feeders, see our guide on Keeping It Clean.
There are a variety of feeders available to help avoid this, which include an innovative biocidal coating that kills bacteria on contact. It’s also critical that we have clean, fresh water available all year.
Ice-Free for Bird Baths is a product that prevents water in birdbaths from freezing throughout the winter, bird feeding for beginners.
What and when should I feed?
The need to locate food when nature’s pantry is at its lowest, along with long, cold nights and short days for foraging, makes winter the most difficult season for our wild birds.
Fatty, calorie-dense wild bird feeds, such as snack balls, blocks, or semi-moist treats, and even wild bird seed combined with semi-moist suet pellets, are popular additions during this season and make excellent winter supplements. Fat balls can be purchased with or without nets.
If you use netting snack balls, keep an eye on the birds at all times because their claws can become trapped in the nylon. If this isn’t possible, we always recommend putting un-netted fat balls in a fat ball holder!
During the winter, the need to replenish feeders can seem inexhaustible. There are, however, several simple tactics and inexpensive alternatives you may provide in addition to the typical bird seed and fat snacks.
Use a cheaper filler like suet pellets, peanut granules, uncooked oats, sultanas, or dried mealworms to bulk up your regular wild bird seed. Additionally, this will supplement their meals with much-needed protein and carbohydrates.
Put your leftovers at the bottom of the cereal box, such as dried fruit, raw, unsalted bacon rind, and grated hard cheese, or leftover fruit like apples, plums, and pears, crushed or soaked biscuits, and finely chopped scraps. Cooked meats and fats can clog feathers, and never give milk to birds because they can’t digest it.
Plant bird-friendly plants, trees, and shrubs that will give a feast of juicy berries, fruit, and seeds to make your yard a haven for wild birds and wildlife alike.
Purchase in bulk. The more Wild Bird Feed you purchase, the more money you save. In addition, bags of Wild Bird Feed weighing more than 12kg are VAT-free in the United Kingdom.
Which Feed Should I Take?
It can be challenging to tell which feed is the best to supply with so many options. Here’s a quick rundown of the most basic and often used wild bird feeds.
Blends of wild bird seed
There are hundreds of variations of wild bird mixes and plain seeds to picking from, making them the most common and easily available. The key is to determine the species you want to attract or have in your area, as well as how you want to feed them.
A good place to start is with a basic seed mix that will appeal to a wide range of common species, such as our Wild Bird Special mix or All Seasons blend, which are packed with nutrient-rich seeds and grains.
These types of loose seed mixes can be bulked out by adding different filters (see above) and supplied in a seed feeder, a bird table, or on the ground.
You might start including specialty foods that cater to a species’ individual preferences or are appropriate for the season to entice in more variety. Our free-flowing Feeder Banquet, for example, is a magnificent mix of high-quality, energy-rich foods that is especially popular with Tits, Siskins, and Greenfinches.
It’s also crucial to think about the requirements of the wild birds you want to attract to your garden. Because robins, thrushes, and blackbirds are all ground feeders, it’s critical to provide an alternative feeding location as well as appropriate food for these birds. Our Goldencrest combination is an all-around best seller for us.
This mix is suitable for feeders, bird tables, and the ground, and it is husk-free, which means no waste and a lower danger of undesired plants growing in your garden.
During the colder months, seed blends with suet treats are very welcome.
The Best of British blend is ideal for attracting a variety of wild birds, including Tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Wrens, and Collared Doves (to name a few).
As the name implies, this nutrient-dense combination is based on natural foods found in our countryside and is entirely sourced in the United Kingdom, supporting British farmers.
It’s a superb all-rounder and amazing value for money, and it’s best served on a bird table or on the ground,bird feeding for beginners.
Peanuts, Sultanas, Bogena, and Nyger Seeds are all straight seeds. Each has unique characteristics that help the nutrition of our wild birds.
Peanuts are arguably the most often purchased straight feed. Peanuts are an oil-rich, high-energy food source that attracts a variety of birds, including Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, and Tits.
If you do decide to offer peanuts, keep in mind that they must be kept within a wire mesh feeder because they can be a choking hazard for small or young birds.
Peanut Granules, often known as crushed peanuts, are an excellent alternative to peanuts and can be used alone or in combination with other foods in feeders, on the ground, or on a bird table.
Try putting peanuts in natural nooks or drilling holes in old logs or fallen branches to encourage woodpeckers and nuthatches to your yard. When feeding these options to your garden’s wild birds, stay away from salted peanuts.
Bogena Softbill Food is a high-quality, all-in-one food for fruit and insect-loving species that thrive on a wet, varied diet. It’s packed with proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, dried seeds, berries, and insects, and you may feed it on its own or with a softbill-specific combination like Songbird Delight or Goldensong.
The tiny, oil-rich Nyger Seed or thistle seed is irresistible to Goldfinches, and it’s so small that it’s best served in a specialized Nyger Seed Feeder with small holes to avoid wasting.
Nyger is particularly popular with Goldfinches, but it is also likely to attract Siskin and Greenfinch. Your entire garden will be overrun by these brightly colored wild birds in no time.
Wild birds prefer sunflower seeds because they don’t have an outer shell or husk to remove, making them a simple meal. They are regarded as the perfect straight food, combining nutritional richness and high energy content with the simplicity of feeding and adaptability. Offer them in a feeder, on the ground, or on a table, either alone or blended with another feed.
The Black Sunflower Seeds are a wonderful value year-round staple. The thin outer husks of our Black Sunflower Seeds allow easy access to the nutrient-rich insides. They’re quite popular with a wide range of species, and they’re greatly mixed in with other foods or on their own.
Waxworms and Mealworms
Mealworms and waxworms, which are high in protein and moisture, are a wonderful way to supplement wild birds’ diets. Especially beneficial in the winter when worms, snails, slugs, and other insects are scarce.
Mealworms are by far the most popular live food for garden birds in the United Kingdom. The Flour Beetle’s larvae are a wonderful source of protein and fat, bird feeding for beginners.
They can be fed all year, but especially in the spring when parent birds are trying to feed their young, to attract a variety of wild birds such as Robins and Thrushes.
Keep them cool and dry in a garage, barn, or even your refrigerator! Both can be placed on a bird table or in a ground feeder. When you order live mealworms, you will usually receive a modest amount of food. It’s usually a good idea to bring in some extra live mealworm food to keep them fresher for longer.
Waxworms (Galleria mellonella) are the larvae of the Greater Wax Moth, and their name comes from the fact that they are most often found in beeswax honeycombs.
Their delicate body is incredibly nutritious and easy to digest. They’re high in protein, moisture, and fat, which makes them even juicier. Protein-rich to assist birds during the winter months, especially when worms, snails, slugs, and other invertebrates are scarce.
Live feeds are high in protein, but dried mealworms are a terrific option for those of us who are a little nervous about touching these wrigglers.
Remember to soak dried mealworms in water before serving outside of a feeder to prevent them from flying away and to assist the birds to stay hydrated.
You may even add dried mealworms to your regular feeder seed to give your birds even more diversity and nutrients. Any discolored mealworms you discover should be discarded since they potentially contain infections like salmonella.
Why not include a fresh, sliced open coconut in your feeding routine as a special treat? Simply break open the coconut, drain it, and put it on a branch or a feeding station in the garden to attract Tits. After those greedy Tits have hollowed out the coconut shell, fill it with a homemade fatball recipe.
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