Published: 02 December 2012
Feeding your Garden Birds
Our garden birds are not just lovely to look at; they also serve a vital purpose. They have voracious appetites for many of the insects and bugs which would destroy our tender plants and crops.

A robin feeds on the Niger Seed.
Aphids, Blackflies and caterpillars are a staple diet for Bluetits and Robins during the summer months, but now that the colder weather is beginning to bite, it is time for us to do what we can to help our feathered friends survive through the winter.
Here in our garden at Blackwood, there are many mature trees and shrubs which give the birds plenty of shelter. But even a relatively immature garden can be made bird friendly and birds are very adaptable when it comes to living accommodation. They will make use of any small nooks or crannies. I have seen a colony of sparrows living and breeding in holes in an old sand stone wall of a farmyard near to us; and Robins are well known for nesting in objects such as empty watering cans and plant pots. Nesting boxes and bird tables are great ways to encourage birds into your garden and you may be surprised at how quickly they will start using a well stocked feeding station.

The Niger seed from the feeder in the video was intended for the Goldfinches, but a flock of Bluetits has taken up residence in the shrub where it is hanging and as you will see, they spend many hours feeding from it every day.
Many of our birds are still finding food sources in the garden, but as the colder weather approaches, we shall be putting more food and water out for them, giving more opportunities to film them. When I was setting up the camera and microphones the other day, I was amazed that even though I was only about three feet away from the feeder, the Bluetits carried on eating as if I was not there. Getting that close to these beautiful little birds is amazing, and there are feeders on the market which you can attach to a window, giving you the best possible view.
If you take a trip to your local garden centre you will see a wide range of specialist foods, such as dried meal worms; high protein foods, pellets and fatballs, which are designed to encourage a variety of birds. There are also the more traditional peanuts and seed mixes, the choice is yours. 
If you want to bring a little colour and life into your garden this winter, there is no better way to do it than to feed the birds.

Reported by Liz Thompson  

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