Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gardening Article: Bird Feeding 101

Attracting wild birds to your garden is as easy as choosing a bird feeder and filling it with birdseed. However, the type of bird seed you choose, and the design of feeder will determine the species of bird you attract to you garden.

Choosing your bird seed

Bird Seed Mixtures usually contain maize, sunflower seeds and crushed peanuts. If you wish to attract the greatest variety of birds then a good quality seed mix will be a great choice, however you need to be careful when buying seed mixtures as lower quality mixtures will contain a lot of cheaper fillers to bulk the mixtures, such as dried rice, and beans. Larger chunked foods such as beans and barley grains can only be consumed by larger beaked birds such as blackbirds and pigeons. Smaller birds such as house sparrows, finches and tits will prefer smaller mouthfuls such as sunflower seeds, crushed nuts and pinhead oatmeal.

"Black" Sunflower Seed is popular with a variety of seed eating birds. Bird seeds are surrounded by a protective shell which will sometimes be too tough for smaller birds to penetrate. However in the case of Black Sunflower Seeds the shells are very thin and can be penetrated by the smallest of birds such as tits and robins. The other added benefit is that it contains a high fat content. We advise that you provide a fatty foods during the winter months as many birds will rely on their fat stores to survive when food is more scarce.

Peanuts also contain a high fat content making it a perfect winter food. Peanut feed will usually come as ‘whole nuts’ or ‘crushed’. Only larger beaked birds such as blackbirds, starling or pigeons will be able to consume whole nuts. Although robins are smaller beaked birds they are very fond of peanuts. If you wish to attract smaller birds to your garden, then choose a "crushed peanut".

The Nyjer Seed is a very important source of food for goldfinches, bullfinches and chaffinches but will also attract robins and siskins. Nyjer can be purchased cheaply but requires a special type of bird feeder to administer as the seed is quite fine.

Choosing the best feeder

Many garden birding hobbyists will keep multiple feeders to attract a variety of birds. The problem with having a single feeding station is that larger birds such as blackbirds can dominate the feeding area, preventing smaller birds from accessing.

Nyjer Seed Feeder are designed with smaller feeding holes, therefore only smaller species of birds such as finches and siskins can access the feeders. We suggest if you keep multiple feeders, then keep them at least 3 meters apart so that more timid birds are not scared away by larger species.

Tube feeders are the most common bird feeder design. Most hobbyist will fill these with a seed mixture to attract the most amount of birds.

The problem with traditional tube feeders is that they can only hold a single type of feed. Triple Tube bird feeders can hold three different types of feed and provide a better option if you hope to attract a variety of birds.

Window feeder can be attached to window panes via a sticky suction plunger. Many city birders keep window feeders as an attractive window feature and a way to closely inspect wild birds without the risk of scaring them away.

Image courtesy of www.wildbirdfeeders.co.uk.

About the author: Written by Lynne Dickson, Marketing Manager at Wild Bird Feeders. Wild Bird Feeders is the global leader in Bird Seed Feeders and wild bird feeding. We have an extensive range of products, from Peanut Bird Feeders to triple tube feeders. For more information all about birds, please visit www.wildbirdfeeders.co.uk.

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