Feeding wild birds is really quite simple and enjoyable. There are many ways to provide food for your feathered visitors and the bigger the variety of food sources you provide in your yard, the greater the variety of visitors you will attract. First prize is to have a garden that provides natural food sources for the birds. These will be in the form of seed heads on plants, berries and fruits on bushes and trees;
insects; worms; caterpillars; slugs and snails.
You can set up other feeding stations in your yard to supplement the food already available to the birds.
Bird feeders for the seed eating birds
Bird feeders are a very popular and easy way to feed wild birds and there is a huge selection of different feeders available to buy or build. They can be placed almost anywhere in your yard and filled with seed and soon the birds will have found their new restaurant. Try to place the feeders where the birds will not be in danger from predators such as wild animals and possibly cats and dogs. You can mount them on walls, on tree trunks or on poles. Some can be hung from the branches of trees.
Try to use a variety of different seeds in the feeder to cater for the appetites of different types of birds. There are some good wild bird seed mixes available to buy, or you can buy (or grow) a variety of different seeds and mix your own. The black sunflower seeds are very popular with a lot of the birds.
Some people believe that large seeds and nuts, such as peanuts, should not be fed to birds during the breeding season in spring. It is thought that the birds will feed these to their chicks and they will choke and die. I am not entirely convinced that this is a real risk, I am sure the birds know what their chicks can and can’t eat. Perhaps it is best to take the advice anyway and protect the safety of the birds.
Many birds, such as the insect eaters, will also eat suet. Suet is a mixture of rendered animal fat with other ingredients mixed in. The suet is usually placed in a net bag and hung from the branch of a tree, or on a hook fixed to a wall or a stand. It can go rancid in warm weather and should not be left out for too many days without being replaced. It is best to use small amounts that the birds will finish in a few days so that none goes to waste.
The most popular way to serve fruit to the birds is to place it on a wooden “table” mounted on a pole. Any flat surface can be used and even seed can be served in this way.
To stop the fruit from falling off the table when the birds peck at it, a few nails are hammered through the wood from the bottom so that they stick out on top of the table. The fruit pieces are then pushed onto these nails to keep them in place. These fruit trays can also be hung securely from a tree branch.
A simple piece of wood with nails sticking out can also be secured onto a tree trunk and used to serve fruit. There may be a bigger chance of the fruit falling to the ground with this option.
Bowls can also be used for serving fruit and either secured onto a table like the one above or hung up securely. You can also string up pieces of fruit by threading string through the pieces or put a skewer stick through them for a delicious fruit kebab.
Insects and creepy crawlies
The best way to give the birds insects and other creepy crawlies to eat is to make your garden a haven for them. You might not be able to see all the insects, worms and other creepy crawlies in your garden, but the birds will find them. If you want to supplement their diet with more meaty morsels then you can consider breeding some meal worms. You can then feed them to the birds by placing them in a bowl such as the one used for fruit.
What is the next step
Now you can decide which of the different options you want to use to feed the wild birds in your yard. Personally, I like them all. Giving them a variety of different foods will invite a good variety of birds to your garden. It might take a while for them to discover the feeders and start using them. Be patient and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
What bird feeders do you have in your yard and did they help to bring more birds to your yard? Let us know your experiences by leaving a comment below.