Watching and feeding wild birds in our gardens or local areas is such a rewarding activity. It can be extremely peaceful just taking some time out of your day to watch these incredible animals, and it is also something that you can take an active engagement with.
There is really no surprise then that since the Covid19 pandemic, interest in this rewarding hobby has absolutely sky rocketed.
As the vast majority of people were spending a lot of their time at home, interest in bird watching and caring peaked, and sales have increased in all types of equipment related to the care of birds.
This is great news, as providing supplementary food for wild birds is critical for their survival, especially when shortages in the amount of natural food occur (for example, in the winter months).
These following tips will help aspiring or seasoned bird enthusiasts in their hobby. Ideas include favourite bird foods, bird feeders and general bird supplies currently on the market.
Different Types of Feed
This may come as a surprise to blossoming bird lovers, but different types of bird food attract different birds. For example, suet (beef/loin fat) attracts woodpeckers, and nuthatches, while Niger seeds attract goldfinches.
You do not need to just have one type of feed at a time, but perhaps have them on different tables so that the birds find it easier to get what they are looking for. By putting out different types of food, you will have your own array of bustling bird life in no time. Birds also like different types of food at different times of the year, and this is universal, not bird dependent.
When it comes to the winter months, try switching to some calorie dense foods to give them that extra boost when natural sources are running low, like cheese or peanuts.
Birds, like most animals, are not all that fussy, however, and any type of scrap foods can be put out to let them experiment with. They really do love fruit and people have had really good (visual) feedback when placing scraps of pastry on their feeding tables.
These are imperative if you’re looking to foster some action in your garden. Most of these are made of wood so that they are kind to the environment.
They come in lots of different shapes and sizes so be sure to do some research to see what kind of style or size you want. Some of them have simple open top designs where the food is placed on top, which allows you to get a really good view of the birds when they are feeding.
Favourites are the boxed designs. Generally placed atop a pole, these are like miniature houses in which the birds can come and go as they please. Some people are put off by the size, but luckily there are other options.
These are a perfect idea if you don’t like the sound of having larger, dedicated stands where you can feed your birds from. Made from different materials, these are generally meshed contraptions with a brick of bird feed inside.
However, they can be favourable to different birds than food tables. One key problem many bird feeders have is that they favour larger birds, albeit inadvertently. This is because they can dominate the feeding ground and block smaller birds from getting food by being intimidating.
Bird feeders can combat this by having small squares surrounding the feed that the birds have to go through first, as one example. The larger birds that take all the food e.g. blackbirds, generally cannot fit through the squares so cannot access the food.
This provides a safe haven for the smaller birds to eat in peace, and makes for some excellent viewing (especially when the blackbirds forget how big they are and try and muscle their way through!)
If you’re looking for inspiration, Little Peckers have an extensive range of bird feeders and other garden bird supplies that keep away larger pests, like the “squirrel buster classic” feeder. You should check them out if you are thinking of getting into the hobby, or want to switch up your gear.
These are perhaps the most elegant of the pieces of equipment synonymous with bird watching. Again, the options are plentiful in terms of style and size. They can be freestanding, which we think goes really well with the freestanding feeding tables, or they can be attached to fittings like window sills, which matches the low-key aesthetic more.
This is an option you should consider if you prefer the attachable bird feeders to the feeding tables. Some smaller ones can even attach right on to the feeders, allowing the birds to do everything in one space.
With many bird species, having a bird bath is essential to their routine, and in cities, for example, they may find it hard to locate water. Many birds have to drink multiple times a day, and having a stable, fresh supply of water will ensure that they keep coming back to your garden.
You can really get to know the individual birds with a full setup, as they will have no reason to go elsewhere. Interestingly, birds do not just drink from the baths, they are also used to maintain their feathers and get rid of any loose dirt. With a larger freestanding water bath, you can literally watch your birds eat and wash themselves in your garden.
Finally on our list is the nesting box. The real bird enthusiasts do not just draw the line at feeding and watering, and many opt to get fit for purpose nesting boxes. These boxes provide a safe and warm place for your birds to roost and nest, and allow you to see the whole process and lifecycle of the birds; this really is a treat. Best of all, they are really easy to install, and many require no drilling to adhere to the wall.
After a stress-free installation, you will be able to first watch the birds build their nest, before birthing and feeding their young. The epitome, though, is seeing the babies emerge for the very first time – that really is a special moment, all in your garden.
Camera kits can also be installed for cheap in order to see what is going on inside the box. This is really amazing when the babies are born.
Watching and raising birds is an excellent thing to do. It is extremely rewarding and inexpensive, and we think that everyone should try out. It is not only rewarding for you, however, as the birds really do rely on human intervention when it comes to keeping alive and warm with enough fuel to keep them going, especially in the winter months.