It would seem that our awareness of environmental issues has encompassed a need to protect and encourage the wildlife around us. It is a known that about 60% of garden owners regularly feed the wild birds that visit.
At this time of the year there are plenty of bright and succulent berries, that Mother Nature provides for wild birds. Berries such as Ben Hope (Blackberries), Pink berries of ‘Champagne’ and Jonkheer van Tets (red currant) add eye catching colour to the spring/summer garden and provide a safe haven for our wild birds. Their flowers, of course attract all manner of insects in the spring and this in turn keeps the baby birds nourished.
To ensure an optimum blend of nutrition for the wild birds in your garden there are bird feeders & feeds that have been developed to suit the palates of individual species:
• Goldfinches have exotic plumage and exotic taste; in their food you will find black sunflowers seeds, red dari, yellow millet, niger seeds and black rapeseed.
• One of the smallest of wild birds, the Wren, loves pinhead oatmeal, flaked wheat and tiny mixed seeds.
• Whilst the larger Blackbird can manage sunflower hearts and sultanas too. Whole peanuts are too large for smaller birds and baby birds to swallow, so they are usually kibbled (coarsely ground) when added to a mixed feed.
• Meal worms are a valuable source of protein and oils and are particularly favoured by Robins and Thrushes. Suet balls and cakes provide a high energy, year round treat. These may contain berries, fruit and even dried insects!
Wild birds become reliant upon the food you supply and although it may take time for them to establish, multiple feed sites are a must to avoid overcrowding! Ensure that you dispose of old or sodden food to prevent harmful toxins and bacteria taking hold. The feeding stations and bird tables themselves should be kept clean, but remember to use a bird safe disinfectant and warm water. It is also a good idea to have a source of clean water so that birds can bathe and be refreshed.