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Info. on Feeding Wild Birds

Feeding Wild Birds

Feeding wild birds is an easy and rewarding ways to see wildlife close up.

In winter birds find it more difficult to find natural foods such as berries, insects, seeds, worms and fruit. Any food you put out during these cold months will help birds survive until the spring.

What food should I feed them?

Most kitchen leftovers can be used to feed wild birds.Crumble bread up and scatter it ono the garden on on one of our bird tables but remember to moisten very dry bread first as it could cause dehydration.

Stale biscuits or cake can provide a rich source of fat and cooked rice, pasta and pastry are full of starch. Potatoes are also an excellent source of starch and can be boiled, baked, roasted or mashed and cheese can be crumbled or grated and is highly favoured by Robins and Wrens.

Fat is a wonderful source of energy - cut bacon rinds, fat from chops or blocks of suet into cubes and watch the birds flock to your garden.

Blackbirds and thrushes love fruit. Bruised apples and pears and windfalls will encourage them to visit your bird table. Fruit also attracts some winter visitors from Scandinavia such as Fieldfares and Redwings.

Remember to soak raisins, sultanas and other dried fruits in water before scattering them.

Tits love fresh coconut in the shell. Drill two holes in one end and drain off the milk, then saw the coconut in half and hang outside on your bird table or a tree branch.

Dessicated coconut should never be fed to wild birds as it swells in their stomachs

Peanuts are rich in fat and attract an array of wild birds such as Nuthatches, Siskins, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Tits, Greenfinches and House Sparrows.

Ensure that the peanuts you buy for the birds are of a guaranteed quality as they may be naturally contaminated with an invisible toxin.

Use a darning needle to thread nuts in their shells onto string or put shelled peanuts in wire mesh containers or spiral feeders.

Robins and Dunnocks are fond of crushed or chopped nuts.

Never put salted nuts out for wild birds

Bird seed mixed with sunflower seeds will attract Greenfinches and Chaffinches

Dunnocks and Finches prefer millet or canary seed which are smaller seeds.

Reduce risks

Scatter food on the ground for Thrushes, Dunnocks and Wrens.

Remember that cats pounce from bushes and trees so don't put food too close by.

Put food out early for the wild birds as if put out late, it could attract rats and mice.

Reduce the risk of spreading disease

Clean bird tables and feeders weekly and water bowls daily.

How to make Bird Cake

  • Make a mould - Half a coconut shell would suffice, then thread some string or wire through a small hole in the base.
  • Mix some seeds, chopped nuts (not salted) sultanas, biscuit or cake crumbs and rolled oats in a bowl.
  • Melt the same weight of lard or suet in a pan.
  • Add the fat to the dry mixture and stir well.
  • Pour the mixture into half coconut shell and leave to cool.
  • When the pudding is set, hang the mould upside down in the garden.

When to feed wild birds

  • October is a good time to start putting food out for birds as this is the time when natural foods are harder for them to find.
  • Feed them until the end of April by which time they should be able to find plenty of food for themselves.
  • As seeds are still scarce in early spring, put food out during May for the Chaffinches, Greenfinches and other seed eaters.
  • Summer hardens the ground especially if it is especially hot. Blackbirds, Thrushes and Robins have difficulty catching worms, so put suitable food out for them until the earth becomes softer.


  • Birds need water to drink and they also love to bathe in it.
  • If you do not have a birdbath, a dustbin lid or a flowerpot base made of terracotta or plastic make great birdbaths.
  • Sink the birdbath into the ground or raise it on three bricks to keep it stable.
  • Always remember to keep the birdbath clean and only fill with clean, fresh water