Do you feed the birds at your house? It’s something we’ve always done and something I did as a child, but since our last house move, we’ve really made sure we look after the birds as there are so many about.
We spend a lot of time outside as a family anyway, so it’s a really natural thing to do and our youngest in particular likes to look after all the wildlife as if they were his pets which is super cute and something I’m happy to encourage (providing he doesn’t insist we take care of a rat from the farm next door that is!)
So why should you bother feeding the birds anyway? I mean, we are all busy just trying to feed our families, why should we feed anything else? There are tons of reasons why you should feed the birds, but I’m going to give you my favourite ones.
Bird feeders provide food during the cold, barren months
This little bird followed us into our house on the last day of the Winter school term, and snuggled himself up in our Christmas Tree. The children thought he was electronic to start with!
We carefully took him outside but he was cold and shivery, so we placed him on our bird table and left him with lots of food. He sat there for hours eating and eating and eating and then flew away.
Some birds don’t migrate during the colder months, so these ‘backyard birds’ benefit from year-round access to bird feeders. When scarce food sources are covered in frost, ice and snow, bird feeders provide an important and easily accessible food supply for winter birds.
Putting out a few seeds everyday in your garden can make a huge difference to these little birds.
Extra feeding helps them prepare for spring mating
When birds have access to more nutrients during the winter months, the spring mating season will be more successful. Chicks will have healthier weights, and egg laying will happen earlier. So basically you are ensuring the next generation!
Bird feeders supplement the natural food sources of birds
Birds are thought to consume up to 10,000 calories a day, so bird feeders are a helpful supplement for wild birds’ massive appetites. Birds spend most of their day foraging for food to meet their needs and the needs of their little nestlings. Well placed bird feeders and tables are an easy food source and a much more efficient way for birds to use their limited foraging energy.
More baby birds survive
Simply putting out a bird feeder and keeping it clean and full can have a huge impact on baby birds, improving their life chances. Survival rates for birds are higher where there are bird feeders – simple!
Feeding the birds has a wider impact on the world
I believe strongly in the butterfly effect, that a small change in one place can have a much bigger change later on. This is true of feeding the birds. Everything in nature is connected, so just by one person feeding the birds in their garden, the balance of nature can be restored.
When you feed the birds, you help more baby birds survive. More birds will eat more insects, so you’ll need fewer chemicals to control them. Using fewer chemicals makes the environment healthier for you, your children, your pets, our water supply… and the wild birds and other animals. Everything matters and you can make an impact at any time.
What bird food should you buy?
You can find bird food in loads of places these days. Online, in the supermarkets, garden centres and bargain stores. I’ve purchased it from all those locations in the past, but we are currently loving the Ivel Valley Wild Bird Food.
I could spend ages just browsing their website. There’s everything from bird stations and nest boxes, to every type of wild bird food you could think of, plus all sorts of feeders and accessories. If you want to get serious about the birds in your garden, then take a look.
We’ve been trying out some of their products in our garden this last couple of weeks, including:
Mini Suet Pellets Insect and Mealworm
These are suitable for feeding from any tray feeder or seed feeder, also ideal for feeding straight onto the ground or from a bird table.
We tried this on our largest bird table, the children enjoyed setting it up and waiting to see the birds tuck into their new feast.
Ready peck 5-A-Day Suet Logs
The children thought these were really cool. They are packed with mealworms and berries, so they give the birds plenty of energy and protein. They come in a pack with mixed flavours so the birds get a good variety and there is no waste with these.
These slot into a suet log feeder, but can be crumbled and left on the ground or bird table.
Ready Peck 5 A day Ground and Table Mix
This is considered to be the ultimate ground and table seed mix, with no waste and being packed with energy. The five-a-day are; suet, oats, seeds, nuts and fruit.
Great for bird tables or just throwing onto the ground.
Super Suet Balls
These are packed with nutritious and high-quality ingredients that garden birds will enjoy all year around. You pop them in a basket ball feeder, which just snaps open and closed for quick refills. These are made from water resistant plastic, although something big (we aren’t quite sure what) in our garden has attacked these and snapped the plastic.
We’ve certainly seen and heard lots more birds since we increased the variety of what we are feeding them. We have lots of small birds in the garden, mainly Robins and Blue Tits, but we also have a large owl who has been pretty interested in the bird table, which is interesting given that owls wouldn’t normally be visiting bird feeders. We’ve also seen squirrels eating the bird food – they didn’t get the memo it wasn’t for them!
Do you feed the birds? What sort of food do you provide? What kinds of birds do you see in your garden?
This is a collaborative post.