How to feed wild birds
Always place feeders and food where garden birds can see them but ensure it is somewhere they will feel safe - putting food no more than 2m from plants and vegetation will allow them to hop to cover easily if they need to. And wild bird care isn't just about food; fresh water is essential too. Garden birds need water for drinking but also for cleaning, particularly in winter when cleaner feathers will fluff up better, so keep bird baths topped up and frost free or put out trays or bowls if you don't have them.
The most important rule when feeding wild birds is to keep the food coming. Birds remember where their food comes from and will come back looking for it once they know your garden is somewhere with food - don't make them expend valuable energy on a wasted journey to your garden. And this doesn't just apply to winter bird care - birds will come to rely on your garden for food all year round so continue putting food out if you can.
Finally, spare a thought for birds when planting. These five top plants can make a huge difference providing natural food and shelter for wild birds this winter:
- Holly - Always a firm favourite for wild birds during winter, especially for nesting robins, thrushes, finches, dunnocks and goldcrests. Their signature red berries are especially popular among greenfinches, blackbirds, song thrushes and redwings
- Ivy - An easy-to-grow evergreen that produces long lasting berries. These provide a great source of food for woodpigeons, mistle thrushes, black birds and redwings
- Guelder Rose - A dynamic shrub, which produces clusters of berries that bullfinches, song and mistle thrushes feed off in the winter
- Teasel - This native biennial will bring some height to your border and allow birds like the goldfinch to feast on the seeds
- Hawthorn - A fast growing, native deciduous tree. Their haws are rich in anti-oxidants and make a perfect treat for blackbirds, redwings, fieldfares, greenfinches, starlings, robins and chaffinches