Winter can be a tough time for birds. Temperatures can plummet and food can become scarce and hard to find. Whether you have a large garden or a small courtyard, you can get those wild birds flocking to your garden. Just follow these top tips:
Attracting birds to your garden
Offering appropriate wild bird food, water, nesting material and nesting sites are key in attracting wild birds. Nesting birds can also benefit from a little help with suitable materials – such as sheep’s wool, hair, twigs and straw – to help with nest preparation.
Local birds can be encouraged to stay a little longer in your garden with a few simple steps:
• Planting trees, shrubs and hedges can provide natural shelter and nesting opportunities. Berry or fruit yielding plants will also provide valuable natural food sources.
• Setting up nesting boxes will provide additional shelter for birds. Our wilko bird tables and garden bird houses are a great alternative. Remember that different types of boxes will attract different species of bird.
• Try to avoid pesticides; birds like blue tits love to feed on the kinds of insect common in gardens.
• A tidy garden might appeal to you, but a more natural garden will encourage wild birds to move in. The dead heads on plants carry seeds which birds could eat, so don’t pick them off. Insects and other invertebrates live under leaf litter, so don’t rake it all away.
Feeding wild birds in your garden
Once you’ve attracted birds to your garden, you’ll find feeding time can be mutually rewarding. Feeding birds is one of the easiest ways to get up close and personal with wildlife. We have a huge range of wild bird feed and wild bird feeders to choose from including sunflower hearts for birds and suet pellets in a variety of flavours including insect and berry flavour. Want a smaller packet of pellets? Check out our 500g packs of pellets in insect flavour, berry flavour and mealworm flavour. We also have suet pellet feeders to match. But remember different birds prefer different bird food:
- Goldfinch, siskin, redpoll: smaller seeds like niger
- Greenfinch, tits: sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts
- Sparrow, woodpigeon, collared dove: large grains
- Woodpeckers, tits, starling: fat balls and bird peanuts
- Robin, thrushes: mealworms and live foods
- Blackbirds, thrushes: suet ball and pellets fed on the ground; windfall fruit
If you’re after bird food that attracts a variety of birds then Peckish Complete Wild Bird 5in1 and Peckish Winter Warmer are great products. For more bird food tips, read our Which Foods Are Best for Which Birds? post.
And whilst we’re talking bird food, we can’t underestimate the power of the fat ball! At this time of year, when the ground is frosty and hard, food options for wild birds can be limited. But you can give them a little help by putting out fat balls in the garden. Fat balls are a nutritious, high-energy treat which will have birds flocking to your garden all winter. If you want to have a go at making your own fat balls then check out our How to Make Your Own Fat Balls for Wild Birds blog.
Tips for looking after wild birds in the winter
Winter feeding benefits our birds the most due to shortage of food during the cold months, so here are some quick-fire tips for looking after wild birds in the winter:
- High energy foods are really important to maintain the bird’s fat reserves for keeping warm
- When the weather gets really bad try and feed twice daily if possible
- Try feeding in multiple sites if possible to help smaller birds compete for the food
- It is really important to provide fresh water everyday
- Keep feeders and feeding areas clean and don’t let uneaten food build up as it can harbour bacteria that can cause disease
- Once you have established a routine try and stick to it as birds will become used to it!
If you need to stock up on your wild bird food or want to provide them with a new nesting place then head to our wildlife page online at wilko.com.