From kitchen scraps like cheese and unsalted bacon, to fruit and more conventional seed mixes, here’s a few tips of what some of your garden favourites like to munch on:
BLACKBIRDS love fruit (especially berries and apples), peanuts and earthworms, and are partial to cheese. They can also be tempted with soaked dried fruits.
Put out mealworms for HOUSE SPARROWS in the breeding season, but they also love sunflower hearts and seed mixes.
SONG THRUSHES will forage for earthworms and snails, but also enjoy fruit, (particularly raisins, sultanas and currants) and peanut granules.
Kitchen scraps and live food are favourites for STARLINGS, but they will also enjoy peanuts, fat blocks and seed mixes.
BLUE TITS will enjoy fat blocks, sunflower hearts, seed mixes and unsalted bacon.
Peanuts, sunflowers hearts and seeds will help attract CHAFFINCHES to your garden.
ROBINS love mealworms, waxworms, peanut granules, sunflower hearts and pinhead oats. They will also feed on small pieces of over-ripe and dried chopped fruits.
Nyjer seeds are certainly one way to GOLDFINCH hearts.
WRENS will enjoy a little bit of suet and grated mild cheese, which will give their energy levels a boost.
Most of these foods are easily put out on bird tables or in feeders. If you want to provide a longer lasting source of nourishment such as insects, fruits and seeds that birds will eat, you could create a rich habitat of trees, shrubs and flowers in your garden.
You don't need to devote your entire garden to wildlife, but set up a feeding station in one area, which might consist of a couple of trees, a thick hedge, a group of berry bearing shrubs, or some colourful cottage garden plants.
Fed up with filling your bird feeder and seeing a cheeky grey squirrel help itself? Well the RSPB has a spicy answer to your problem.
Chilli powder is a safe and effective way of ensuring that only the intended recipients of bird seed get the food.
The RSPB is suggesting that gardeners dust a small amount of the pungent powder over seed and suet mixes in feeders and on tables as it will deter thieving squirrels whilst not affecting birds’ feeding habits.
An effective solution
Lloyd Scott, RSPB Wildlife Adviser says: "Using chilli powder to deter squirrels, is a cheap, easy and effective solution. Feeding garden birds is a popular – and vital – pastime in the UK and the RSPB gets thousands of calls each year from frustrated gardeners asking how to stop squirrels eating all their bird seed".
"Squirrels can consume large amounts of peanuts and seeds and quite frequently destroy bird feeders in the process".
"Chilli powder will stop them helping themselves but doesn’t seem to have any effect on birds at all. This is much simpler than erecting barriers and trying to prevent access to feeders for squirrels – they are nimble, clever animals and will usually find a way in anyway!".
Recipe for success
Make sure seed mixes are thoroughly coated but not hidden in the powder. Put the powder in a bag with the seed mix and shake it up. Other kitchen deterrents include curry powder, Tabasco, peri-peri sauce, red pepper and Cayenne pepper.
The RSPB’s Homes for Wildlife is an exciting activity inspiring people to transform their homes and gardens into wildlife havens by following simple, free gardening advice.
Bird Table : Andy Hay
Grey Squirrel on garden lawn : Nigel Blake
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