Winter can be a tough time for birds. Temperatures can plummet and food can become harder to find. Whether you’ve got a large garden or a small courtyard, you can help our wild birds by following these simple top tips:
Making sure there’s access to wild bird food, water and bird houses are all essential in attracting wild birds. Nesting birds can also benefit from a little help with handy materials – such as sheep’s wool, hair, twigs and straw – to help with nest preparation.
Encourage local birds 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 give some additional shelter for birds. 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. Leave off deadheading all plants as many carry seeds which birds can get a tasty meal from. Insects and other invertebrates live under leaf litter as well, so don’t be tempted to rake it all
One of the best ways to attract wild birds into your garden is by providing them with a regular source of food. Feeding birds is one of the easiest ways to get up close and personal with wildlife – and you’re sure to love watching them all come flocking to your garden too. Choose a mix of wild bird feeders and wild bird feed to encourage a variety of different species to pop by. Look out for special sunflower hearts for birds, fat balls and suet pellets to get you started. But remember different birds prefer different bird food:
- Goldfinch, siskin, redpoll: smaller seeds like niger
- Greenfinch, tits: sunflower seeds and hearts
- Sparrow, woodpigeon, collared dove: large grains
- Woodpeckers, tits, starlings: fat balls and bird peanuts
- Robins, thrushes: mealworms and live foods
- Blackbirds, thrushes: suet ball and pellets fed on the ground, and windfall fruit
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. Want to have a go at making your own fat balls? Check out our How to make your own fat balls for wild birds blog.
Tips for looking after wild birds over winter
- High-energy foods are really important to help top up fat reserves to help keep birds warm
- When the weather gets really bad, try and feed twice daily if possible
- Pop some food in a couple of different places to help smaller birds compete for the food
- Make sure you provide fresh water every day – and check it doesn’t freeze over
- Keep feeders and feeding areas clean and don’t let uneaten food build up as it can create problems with bacteria that can cause disease
- Once you’ve got into a feeding routine, try to stick to it as birds will get used to it and keep coming back for more (you don’t want them having a wasted journey that could leave them tired and more hungry)
Have you entered our wild bird competition yet?
Since you’re going to be attracting lots of wild birds to your garden with all our top tips, you’re going to be in a great position to take lots of snaps of our feathered friends! So, why not enter our wild bird competition with your favourite shot for the chance to win a £100 voucher and have your photo featured in the wilko 2022 Wild Bird calendar? All you have to do is take your own photo of a wild bird in a garden or outdoor setting and pop it over to us. To enter, send your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org
The competition opens on Sunday Jan 3rd, and will end on Sunday 14th March 2021 so there’s plenty of time to get snapping! Take a look at all our T&Cs for more information.
And if you need to stock up on wild bird food or want to provide them with a new nesting place then head to our wild bird page online at wilko.com
Happy bird watching and photographing!
Get the kids involved with our wild bird colouring in templates!
- Download and print the bird picture of your choice
- Colour in the bird, using pens, pencils or paint. Try to keep to to realistic colours and patterns