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Wild bird care

Feeding birds in the garden is a popular activity - over half of adults in the UK feed birds in their garden. That's a lot of extra help for the birds!

Providing birds with supplementary food will bring them closer for you to marvel at their fascinating behaviour and wonderful colours. It will also reward them for sharing their lives with you. Feeding birds is also an ideal way to teach children about wildlife.

Supplementary feeding can't provide all the natural proteins and vitamins that adult and young birds need, so it's important to create and manage your garden to provide a source of natural foods as well, through well-managed lawns, shrub and flowerbeds.

If you provide both natural and supplementary food, your garden will be visited year-round by a host of different birds. You can take part in our Homes for Wildlife scheme and we'll give you all the advice you need, especially tailored to your garden, to make your garden into a wildlife haven.

It is important to feed your garden birds responsibly and safely. By following a few simple guidelines, you can play a valuable role in helping your local birds overcome periods of natural food shortage, survive periods of severe winter weather and come into good breeding condition in the spring.

Helping garden birds can be as rewarding for you as it is for them. By using bird tables and hanging feeders, you can bring wild birds right up to your window!

Birds will benefit from being fed during some of the hardest times of the year – not just in the winter months.

Be careful! Grapes, sultanas, raisins and some artificial sweeteners are toxic to dogs, make sure these are not left where other pets can find them. Suitable seeds and grains (like nyjer, millet, oats, and sunflower seeds).

Only feed peanuts if they're unsalted, fresh and sold for human consumption or by a reputable feed shop. To protect chicks from being fed whole nuts and choking, provide peanuts in good quality mesh feeders. Cooked pasta or rice, boiled potatoes, cheese, uncooked and unsalted bacon rind, raisins and sultanas.

Net-free fat or suet balls attract a wide range of species and provide a great boost of calories. Apples, pears and soft fruits are popular and are a great autumn food. Insects such as mealworms or waxworms are also a favourite.

Fresh water is essential, keep water bowls full of clean water and make sure bowls and feeders are placed far away from bushes and other areas where predators might hide.

Many garden birds die each year through the transmission of diseases. It’s important to clean all feeders weekly - water containers daily - and dry them before refilling.

Simple tasks like rotating feeding and drinking areas will help reduce the transmission of disease.