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Gardeners can help to make their outdoor spaces a haven for wildlife, such as birds and bees. Birds are important for the pollination of plants, the spreading of seeds and the control of pests in gardens. So read on to find out how you can care for birds and attract them to your garden.
What food do birds eat?
Bird feeders are a great way of attracting birds to a garden and different birds will eat different things.
J Parker’s, one of the leading plant and bulb companies in the UK, explained: “These feeders encourage birds to stop by the garden and get the food they’d have to search vastly in the wild for.
“Some of the foods you can avail to them include suet balls, which robins, long-tailed tits, and blue-tits love.
“Sunflower hearts are another viable option. They’re rich in protein and a favourite among robins, siskins, and finches.
“Niger seeds, mealworms, and peanuts would also be perfect.”
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) advises on its website to put bird feeders somewhere quiet in the garden where the birds won’t be disturbed.
Place bird feeders not too close to bushes where cats could hide, but close enough to cover so that birds can easily dart to and from.
The bird feeder should also be placed in an area sheltered from harsh winds.
Birds will certainly be grateful to you for putting out some high-quality bird food for them.
But the RSPB adds you can also put out some leftovers you may have, such as bread, fruit cake, dried fruit, unsalted nuts or fruit like apples and pears.
However, it adds: “Don’t use anything mouldy or salty though, and if you have a dog don’t put out dried fruit – vine fruits such as raisins can be toxic to them.”
Remember to keep bird feeders clean to prevent the spread of disease between birds.
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How else can you attract birds to a garden?
As well as food, gardeners should also consider providing fresh water to the birds, such as in the form of a bird bath.
If you don’t have a bird bath, you can also improvise with a shallow dinner plate, breakfast bowl or plant pot tray.
Birds need the water not just for drinking, but also for bathing too.
So keep the water fresh every day and keep water out for the birds all year round.
J Parker’s add: “Finally, a place to nest will greatly determine whether birds would love spending time in your garden.
“You can buy nesting boxes which you should install in a safe place for the birds to nest.
“You can choose from open-fronted nest boxes, which are ideal for wrens and robins, classic small-holed nest boxes that serve a wide variety of birds, or sparrow terraces that are perfect for sparrows that breed in colonies.
“You can plant different shrubs/trees/flowers that will either provide food for birds in the form of seeds, berries or nectar, give shelter and warmth under dense foliage or they will attract insects which birds and other wildlife can feed off.
“Here are some of our top choices: Honeysuckle, Rowan, Viburnum Opulus and Holly.”
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