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What to feed wild birds

What to feed wild birds

Winter care for garden birds is vital, and one of the most important things we can do when feeding birds in winter is to provide as wide a variety of food as possible - quite simply, the wider the range, the more species will visit. Different birds like different foods and putting out as many types as we can will attract a host of different species to our gardens. Robins love meal worms, tits and nuthatches adore peanuts, while the favourite food of siskins and gold finches are the distinctive, black nyger seeds that require their own specific seed feeder. Fat balls and cakes are perfect for feeding birds in winter, full of the fat and high calories warm blooded wild birds need to get them through the cold weather. If they come in mesh bags take these off first, as birds can get tangled in them, or make your own, by adding a range of seeds, nuts and cheese to suet or lard.

When buying food, always make sure the food is of a high quality. If you're feeding birds in winter, they need high-energy food to sustain them through the cold days and freezing nights. Cheaper foods are often bulked out with nutrient poor grains like barley, or large pulses like lentils and beans, which only the very large birds can eat.

Another top tip when feeding birds in winter is that they also have different ways of eating - not all birds feed the same way. Blackbirds and wrens for example, are ground feeders who prefer to eat straight from the lawn or border, whereas wild birds such as tits and finches favour hanging feeders. So, when considering wild bird care, try and include a range of feeders in your garden, such as a bird table, some hanging feeders in trees or on a pole pushed in to the lawn or border and remember to scatter some food on the lawn too - unless you have cats.

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