How to Attract Birds to Your Garden
Watching garden birds feeding is a pleasurable way to spend time, their antics helping you to happily wile away the time. Although they are lovely to watch all year round it is especially nice to know that you are helping them to survive during the cold winter months when natural food is scarce, and helping them top up their energy reserves for the exhausting business of nesting and raising chicks during the spring.
There are many different types of garden bird food available including peanuts, wild bird seed, fat blocks, meal worms and insect based food. It can be bewildering knowing which is best to use without spending a fortune, buying lots of different kinds and hoping for the best. Different species of birds prefer different foods so if you are wanting to attract specific species you will need to provide specific food. It is definitely worth spending a little time keeping your eyes peeled for what birds are already local to you as these will be the easiest to tempt into your garden.
If you’ve never fed your garden birds before you need to have a little patience, it may take your local bird population some time before they find the food that you have left for them. Don’t get disheartened because once they have discovered the treats you leave they will return again and again.
Which Garden Birds Like Peanuts
Peanuts are rich in fat and essential oils so are a great source of energy to garden birds. Whole peanuts in feeders will attract all of the tit family (blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits etc) as well as green finches, gold finches, house sparrows, nuthatches and siskins. You may also see a robin trying to have a nibble, but on the whole robins prefer crushed peanuts and they also prefer to feed on the ground. You can also attract dunnocks and wrens by sprinkling some crushed peanuts over the ground.
Depending on how many birds your garden attracts will depend how great a quantity you wish to purchase. Anything from a small bag to a large sack can be purchased but it is crucial to ensure that the peanuts you leave out for the birds are from a reputable trader and are specifically for birds.
Below are some examples of peanuts that you can purchase online. We always buy large sacks of peanuts as our garden backs onto a wooded railway embankment so we get lots of hungry birds visiting. If you are new to feeding birds then I recommend starting with a small bag and making sure the birds find your feeder.
Which Garden Birds Like Fat / Suet
There are fat / suet blocks, balls or pellets and these are available in many varieties eg, with different berry flavourings, with meal worms or insects incorporated or just plain.
Fat / Suet provides a high energy food and is loved by Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Long-tailed Tits and Starlings, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Siskin.
Ground feeding birds such as Robins, Thrush, Blackbirds and Dunnocks prefer fat / suet pellets.
Wild Bird Seed Mix and Seed Varieties
Wild bird seed mixes appeal to the biggest variety of garden birds because as a mix there is something that appeals to nearly every type of bird. You will often see tits and finches on the feeder discarding some of the seeds they don’t favour onto the ground. This works out well for the ground feeder such as Dunnocks, Blackbirds and Robins. Wild bird seed mix is often the best way to start feeding the birds and to see what variety you can attract to your garden. Again the best way to start could be to buy a smaller quantity initially and buy in bulk once you know it won’t go to waste.
Once you have established your garden as a feeding station you may wish to offer different species their favourite seeds independently rather than just as part of a mix.
Goldfinch love niger seeds. Niger seeds are one of the more expensive seeds available so only buy once you know you have goldfinches as your customers rather than speculatively.
Sunflower hearts are loved by a wide variety of birds, and although expensive these provide the birds with the highest energy content per weight.