Feeding garden birds

Feeding garden birds
    As the weather is starting to get colder, many birds will now need our help to ensure they have an adequate supply of food.

Most gardeners leave food out for birds throughout the year, but it is particularly important to do so during the autumn and winter months. Foods that are high in fat should be provided to help them survive frosty nights.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds recommends bird seed mixtures, particularly ones that contain flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules.

Millet tends to attract smaller birds, such as house sparrows, dunnocks, finches, reed buntings and collared doves, while blackbirds are fond of flaked maize.

Mixes containing chunks and whole nuts are good for winter feeding, while pinhead oatmeal also makes excellent bird food.

Peanuts are another firm favourite with our feathered friends and, being rich in fat, should be left out during the winter. 

Tits, greenfinches, house sparrows, nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and siskins all go for peanuts, while crushed or grated nuts attract robins, dunnocks and even wrens.

Salted and dry roasted peanuts should not be left out for birds, and you should make sure you obtain your supply from a reputable dealer to ensure they are free from aflatoxin, which can be harmful.

Fat balls and other fat-based food bars also make great winter food and these can be homemade fairly easily. 

Pour melted fat (suet or lard) onto a mixture of ingredients such as seeds, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal, cheese and cake, using around one-third fat to two-thirds mixture.

Stir well and leave it to set in a suitable container. It can simply be left out on the bird table or placed in a coconut shell, plastic cup or tit bell.

Cooked brown or white rice (without salt) is an ideal food for all types of bird during the severe winter weather.

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