Feed the Birds

October 29th is Feed the Birds Day when the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) encourages us to put out food and water for garden birds.

Gardens can provide invaluable food and shelter for our wildlife, especially when the weather starts to turn colder. Birds that we used to see often in our gardens are now becoming less common. The house sparrow, for example, has seen its population decrease by two-thirds since 1979.  Starlings populations in the UK have declined by a similar figure since the 1970s and greenfinches are now on the endangered Red List. 

The Vale’s residents take a keen interest in their garden birds and some already provide food to encourage a wide range of visitors. 

Feeders or a bird table are a good way to provide food, but a regular supply of clean water is also important. Different birds will be attracted to different foods – seed eaters such as tits and finches will love nutritious sunflower seeds, a good seed mix or peanuts. Robins will enjoy meal worms, whilst fat balls and bird cake are also nutritious and will appeal to several species.

If you prefer to steer clear of commercial bird foods, store cupboard items could include small amounts of cooked rice (white or brown but with no salt), dry breakfast cereal, uncooked porridge oats, lard or beef suet – but not left over cooking fat, as it will have mixed with the ingredients it was used to cook with and could smear birds feathers or attract bacteria. Mild grated cheese will appeal to robins, wrens and dunnocks.

So, go ahead, feed the birds and take time to watch and enjoy their behaviour. Be patient and try to keep up your feeding. It may take the birds a while to become familiar with your feeding spot but, once they do so, they will come looking for what you provide.