Caring for garden birds during the spring & summer months

One of the benefits of spending more time at home during these challenging times, coupled with astonishingly warm sunny weather, has been a huge increase in the appreciation of our outdoor spaces, gardening and, in particular, our wonderful birdlife. We are noticing the natural world around us much more this spring…colours and scents are more intense as we transition from spring into summer and the sounds of birdsong are especially loud and beautiful. 

Novice bird watchers are often surprised to discover the extraordinary variety of species that the UK has to offer; the RSPB lists 408 species of birds found within our shores (1). Clearly some of these are found only in specific habitats such as coastal marshes or woodlands and some are seasonal visitors from overseas, but our own humble gardens can host a wonderful selection of birdlife. Some of the most common to look out for are robins, great tits and blue tits, wood pigeons, blackbirds, house sparrows, goldfinches and greenfinches, wrens, magpies and collared doves. 

Placing bird feeders in your garden is an excellent way to attract more birds and provides a wonderful way to appreciate them more closely.  A common misconception is that garden birds only require feeding during the winter months. The RSPB advises that, ‘although winter feeding benefits birds most, food shortages can occur at any time of the year. By feeding all year round, you’ll give them a better chance to survive food shortages whenever they may occur.’ They advise that during the autumn and winter months it is best to feed garden birds high fat foods. However, during the spring and summer months, birds benefit more from high protein foods (2). 

At Alfie & Bella, we provide an excellent range of bird feeds for garden birds. At the moment, with nesting and lots of busy parents keeping their young fed, we would recommend high protein seed mixes, as well as mealworms, either dried or live. Suet only products and peanuts should be carefully positioned in cooler, shadier locations during the summer months as they can quickly melt or go rancid in the heat. 

Many birds will feed from hanging bird feeders, including great tits and blue tits, greenfinches and goldfinches and even robins. Others, such as blackbirds, wrens and robins, are ground feeders who will need a larger, flat feeding table to land on. All feeders should be positioned in open areas near shrubs and trees for safe easy access and where predators such as cats can be spotted easily.

Our selection includes:

  • Sunflower hearts…always a favourite!
  • Deluxe Mix….our own special blend of seeds, peanut granules, mealworms & suet pellets with little wastage, the gourmet option! 
  • Premier Mix…a popular, value choice of pre-mixed seeds
  • Robin Mix…a special blend for robins; add dried mealworms for an extra treat
  • Niger seed…this will require a special feeder and specifically targets goldfinches, a fabulous sight when 2 or 3 visit at the same time!
  • Peanuts…this will also require a special peanut feeder and is particularly attractive to great tits and blue tits
  • Mealworms…dried mealworms are an excellent source of protein for birds and especially popular with robins; live mealworms are the gourmet option and also available at A&B…many customers have patiently “trained” robins to feed from their hands!

It is also important that garden birds have access to water for drinking and bathing. Bird baths, troughs and hanging water dishes are all good options – be sure to regularly refresh the water. Again, try to position birdbaths and dishes in areas that provide shelter from predators. 

For more information on how to care for garden birds and what to feed them, give us a call, contact us on social media or send us an email. The RSPB also provides a wealth of information on their website: https://www.rspb.org.uk/

Reference:

  1. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/identify-a-bird/
  2. https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/feeding-birds/when-to-feed-garden-birds/

Image Credit:

  1. Robin – susannp4 via pixabay
  2. Blue tit – HelgaKa via pixabay
  3. Wren – Cock-Robin via pixabay
  4. Goldfinch – jLasWilson via pixabay

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