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main birds page.
the best and most exciting ways to get close to wildlife for many people
is to encourage birds into gardens. This is often a great way to
'get into wildlife' whatever age you are. Birds will visit if you
provide food, and water for drinking and bathing. In addition a
number of species can be attracted by
putting up nest boxes.
Also the plants that you grow and way you garden, and habitats that you
create, will have a big influence on which birds and other animals visit
For information about gardening for wildlife
visit the Space for
Nature or the
Nature Englands' site.
Feeding the birds
It is perfectly acceptable to feed birds throughout the year, but you
may find that the birds that visit vary month to month. It can
take a while before birds find your newly established feast, but once
they have they may well become dependant on your generosity.
Therefore it is particularly important not to stop putting out food once
you have started especially in winter . In summer food can sustain
adults while they struggle to feed their nestlings.
Hanging up unsalted peanuts in mesh feeders will
attract blue, great, marsh and coal tit, green
finch and house sparrow for instance. Other birds such
as chaffinch, black bird, starling, collared
dove and robin will require seeds, or other food, put out on
bird tables or scattered on the ground.
Some birds such as dunnock and wren can
be very shy and will more likely be seen when food is near cover, such
as a bush. In harsh weather winter thrushes, such as red wings
and field fares will move into towns and feed on fallen fruit
such as apples. If you are lucky some other birds such as
nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker and sparrow hawk
may also visit your garden. You never know quite what you might
see which adds to the excitement.
blue tit on peanut feeder
Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes and can be widely bought
from garden centres, pet shops or over the web. If you have
squirrels taking the food you put out and they are a problem for you
then you can get squirrel proof feeders. These only allow small
birds to reach the food.
You can also hang up half coconuts and seed encased in fat and shaped
into balls. It is worth investing in approved bird food as what
you put out can be at best ignored or worse actually contain poisonous
toxins that are fatal to birds.
Feeders should generally be placed in positions that cannot be
reached by cats. Accumulated food on the ground can also encourage
vermin, so you may wish to monitor how much is eaten each day and not