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I think its ok to feed the birds cause if we dont and they die we wont have any at all if its a bad or wet winter,ok we dont know if it is junk food but what is the alternative ? birds adapt to different food, and it isnt really long till spring so lets feed the birds and help them
I feed the birds all year round with peanuts for the small birds and apples, sultanas and muesli for the ground feeders like blackbirds. In the winter I also hang up a fat ball. This is all nutritious food which is good for the birds. I sometimes throw out bread and other scraps which probably is junk food but this does fill them up on a cold winter's day. Surely birds are like humans in that occasional junk food won't harm them? They are never going to eat only junk food, they will always supplement it themselves with other more natural food.
i agree with the first comment, i put steak and kidney pie, chips and mushy pea's out for the birds every friday, and last saturday, 2 robins invited me out for a pint.
i have just browsed the new gardeners world magazine and there is a project to make a nesting box from an old teapot, whoever thought of this doesnt know much about birds, even if a bird did lay eggs in it they would fall prey to all sorts of prededitors including woodpeckers
we are not allowed to feed the birds in my area as it encourages rats (milton keynes has a large rat population) also people in my nearby allotment site keep chopping the trees and hedges down so locally we have a very sparce bird population much to my disappointment. Therefore those that can feed our birds please continue.


we are lucky enough to live in a rural county, we have may visiting birds aswell as 'locals', we keep all our feeders and bird table topped up with nuts seeds apple rasins and so on,this time of year.I have put out a mixture of home made fat balls,the birds seem to have pecked out the seeds etc, and left most of the fat! However we must all remember to clean the feeders and bird tables to keep them free of diseases.
I feed the birds all the time I always have,black sunflower seeds are the most popular sparrow seed mix next followed by peanuts and last robin mix. I also put out dried mealworm, cooked chopped fat off any meat,the odd scone, biscuit and bread. A worrying thing I have noticed is the dunnocks which never ate anything I put out in the past now pick about anything thats there.Two years ago they would be constantly up and down the boarders from early til late and always fed their young this way even in the wet summer last year they never touched anything I put out this year I've seen some of the young constantly feeding from whats out for the other birds.Is this due to the lack of insects or are they just changeing with the times, nature needs all the help it can get with all our seasons and weather upside down and back to front.By the way none of the birds that feed in my garden like fat balls I've tried many different ones to no success.
2 years ago we put up our first Nijer seed feeder. We hadn't seen a Goldfinch in our garden for years. Within a few days we had 3 goldfinches visiting regularly. We progressed to a larger feeder and now have Goldfiches nesting in the Ivy I'd planted to conceal a power supply pole in the garden. Yesterday we had 14 of the little beauties on or near the feeder. I'd call that a real success story for feeding on a regular basis. I would be concerned if we wern't able to continue feeding them nijer seed but then again 14 birds is a stronger population than the zero before we started. The bonus for us is their constant chiter chater and minor squables over who has the top perch on the seed feeder.
I allways try to help out birds by leaving out bread crumbs, bird food such a: Peanuts, and usually suit and berry as i find that swallows go crazy for it. They come in there hundreds and totaly cover the my garden. I have to agree with the top article. Only about 30 people out of 100 feed birds so when they birds can get a bit of easy food its got to be a good thing.
If you're really that concerned that what you are feeding to your garden birds is the equivalent of avian junkfood, then there are a few simple steps to take to ensure they eat healthily. Firstly, only buy types of bird food that is best suited to British birds. I replaced peanuts with sunflower seeds many years ago, and haven't noticed any drop in numbers at the feeding stations in my garden. Nyjer seed for goldfinches is ideal, as it mimicks wild thistle seed, their favourite food. I, too, am a bit concerned that the suet and lard in commercial fatballs may make them ill, but you could try replacing it with a vegetable equivalent (non-hydrated of course), or if you are lucky to have a local butcher that sells organic meat, then ask them for some suet. I make my own fatballs, and add pinhead oatmeal, raisins, hips and haws (collected earlier in the autumn), de-husked and chopped sunflower seeds, grated cheese, apple, plus anything else I think would be good for them to eat. I avoid putting out bread, as it can swell up in them, making them ill. Pastry, made from wholemeal flour, is good though. I would never give them pasta, cooked or dried. The best thing we gardeners can do is plant lots more native trees, shrubs and plants that not only provide cover and nesting places for the birds, but ones that also give crops of seeds and berries that they like to eat. Also, don't be too tidy in the garden, as this provides a huge larder of tasty edibles for insect foraging birds like wrens, and robins. Don't use conventional slug pellets to kill these pesky molluscs, try other wildlife friendly solutions, and you might find that your garden becoms a haven for thrushes too! Nothing like the glorious song of a thrush to cheer a world-weary heart.
I can remember when the blue tits had peck through the milk bottle tops on the door step and stolen the cream from the top, no longer can they have their daily dose of fat so I suppose it's up to us to give them the best we can but bread and pastre shouldn't be among the healthy food supplied, seeds mealwormsand a little fat but not in quantities to stop them from forreging.
just want to correct my spelling of pasta and to remind people if they do put bread out for the birds that brown would be best and always wet it first so that it swells before it gets into their tummies and kills them.
I don't know enough about bird nutrition to have a real answer. I do know the many varieties of wild birds we're lucky enough to see in our Sussex garden devour anything we leave out at the moment. In fact if there's nothing out one of the cheekier little birds like the robin comes and sits on a patio chair in view of the kitchen window as a hint! My question is how to balance helping wildlife with the needs of my plants? I 've read that it's good not to be too tidy - to leave seedheads, berries and so on as food and shelter for wild birds and other wildlife. Yet the 'what to do now' pages encourage tidying and chopping back now. Surely this is the hardest part of the winter for birds. And by lots of tidying aren't we taking away the more natural sources of food which would probably be better? But what happens to my plants if I don't cut back now? Any suggestions??
IFeed The Birds With Fat Balls And Bird Seed.And Nuts,And Last Year I Put Out Some Nigor Seed And I So Goldfinches For The First Time What A Beautiful Bird It Is So Colourful I Feed Other Birds i See Blue Tits Coal Tits Sparraws And I See Black Birds So I Put Apples Out Under The Trees I Enjoy Watching The Birds And I Think I Am Helping Them Get Through The Winter
i to put out fat balls nuts etc.this week i have put out left over veg ie carrot sprouts coli peas,it has been eaten a bit .i have put bread on top of the headge as the birds sit in the tree next door which is next to said hedge and all has dissapeared by the morning.we have two cats that are to lazy to go out and the birds stay at the top of the garden and can see the cats leave the house giving them time to get away so they do sit on the raised beds to eat scraps .sparrows do enjoy the seeds around the pond and sit on the grasses.which seems unbelievable that the grass should hold their. weight


Has anyone noticed more long tailed tits this year than most, here there seem to be even more than usual and they have been here for longer than usual too ? PG
Pippa - for the first time ever I saw long-tailed tits about a week ago, about 8 of them flitted around a bird feeder for about a minute, then off they went, and I haven't seen them since. N Ireland.
'Old apple' good to hear that the log tailed tits have visited you too, we still have a few but more intermittent now, and still in clutches of six or more, they're seriously gregarious! I too tried nijer seed, none of the local birds were interested...but they know what they like arou8nd here - turn their beaks up at bread, cake or any other more 'human style' food...and I don't like cheese for them as I am concerned about the very high salt cntenet which I was told we should avoid ?!
i also have long tailed tits visiting for the first time, a great sight watching there antics usually about 6/8 birds.i also have four gold finches who visit regularly.on occasions we see a green woodpecker pecking at the lawn which is a real treat.our cat has taken to sitting on the bird table!i think he thinks there just going to fly straight in his mouth.
I started feeding the birds for the first time last winter and have been doing so ever since. I've used two sweet-pea wigwams and have a mixture of fat balls, suet cake thingies, peanuts and sunflower hearts - oh, and niger, although I've never once seen greenfinches. My worry is that today at around 4pm, I saw a rat cleverly move from a 6 foot hedge onto the wigwam and straight onto the bird cake. It's a 200 foot steep garden and the feeders are half way up. Should I be concerned about this and should I stop feeding the birds? My neighbours have a jungle of a garden and I know other people feed the birds also - in other words, the rats aren't gonna go away. Please tell me they won't move into the house tho!! What advice.