Wild Bird Seed - getting involved
If you are keen on seeing wild birds in and around your garden and would like
to see more of them, it is easy to get involved. The first step is to start
feeding wild birds in any way you can. Learn all you can about the wild birds of Britain by visiting websites such as Garden-birds.co.uk where there's a wealth of information on all the different wild birds in Britain.
If you are on a tight budget and can't afford to buy bird seed start by feeding your birds with your kitchen scraps and leftovers. Our tip for feeding leftovers is to put them out for the birds as early in the morning as you can, or combine them with some fat and make into fat balls or cakes.
If you feed your birds on a regular basis they will soon start to arrive just
after you put food out for them, or even just before. They will get to know your habits and that will
give you the chance to learn theirs. You will be surprised how quickly birds realise your garden is a good source of food and will come regularly to check it out.
You can start to make a record of the birds you see as you go through the year and learn about their pecking order and other behaviour patterns. Mostly, birds of various species don't fight or squabble for access to food. Some will defer to larger birds, but this is not always the case and some small birds are quite feisty!. Crows will usually be allowed a wide birth by magpies [another corvid] but crows are extremely nervous and will always spend time watching to see a food source isn't a trap before landing and grabbing some food hurriedly before flying to safety. Robins are the least afraid of humans and will often sit and watch you from a few inches away, especially if you are digging the garden.
When you can afford one, a bird feeder will give you even more chances to observe birds as they feed; peanuts are a good source of energy and oils and loved by all species of tits. A bird table is an ideal wild bird feeder that is off the ground and protected from rats and squirrels, you could build one yourself if you have basic carpentry skills; have a look at a selection of bird table pictures on our bird tables page or in your local garden centre, and make your own version. Once you have a bird feeder you will be able to fill it with a choice of bird seed or scraps.
It won't be long after you start feeding your birds that it occurs to you that you can help your birds in other ways too. Putting nesting boxes in the trees and shrubs around your garden will help to provide vital habitat for many of your garden birds especially the Blue tits, Great Tits , Wrens and Robins, and they will also provide you with free access to watch them or photograph them.
Providing your birds with somewhere safe to wash is also a big advantage to your garden birds and great fun to watch. Bird baths come in many shapes and sizes and can be placed anywhere out of the way. Make sure you wash them out frequently or they can become soiled and dirty, and are likely to spread disease.
You might fancy an Alpine table like this one on the right from Dobbies.co.uk who have a selection of unusual wild bird feeding tables and food.