Why Do We Need Bird Feeders? – Home & Roost

Why Do We Need Bird Feeders?

Why Do We Need Bird Feeders?

Clare Stone |

Bird tables have been around since the 1800s. And people have been putting food out on the ground for birds in their gardens for hundreds of years. And now we have a bewildering choice of bird feeders too.  You might be asking yourself why we need bird feeders? Won't a table or the ground do? 

Well yes, you can certainly attract and help some birds with just a table and seed or kitchen scraps sprinkled on the ground. But adding a few carefully chosen bird feeders will have plenty of benefits for you and the birds.

Six Good Reasons To Get Some Bird Feeders

1.Feed More Birds, Safely.

Bird tables are great, but if yours becomes really popular, it can quickly become overcrowded. An overcrowded bird table can mean that the larger, more dominant birds get all the feed whilst the smaller ones go hungry. A bustling bird table can also be more difficult to keep clean. A dirty bird table can spread diseases amongst your feathered friends. Offering different food sources in a range of feeders spaced around your garden can help to keep them well.

2.Feed a Wider Range of Species.

Each bird species have different feeding habits. Some love to eat off a flat table surface, others prefer the ground, and others still like to eat hanging at an angle. For example, you will rarely see a woodpecker sat on a flat surface. They always seem to be busy pecking away, hanging from the side of a tree. So it's no surprise that you will be more successful in attracting woodpeckers with hanging feeders that mimic their natural environment. The same goes for tits, finches and nuthatches.

3.Offer Different Kinds of Food.

You can put pretty much any food on a bird table if you really want to. But many types of feed are better served in a feeder. 

Nyjer seed is so fine that it just blows off bird tables in an instant before the goldfinches that love it even get a chance of a feed. Nyjer is far better served in a specialist Nyjer feeder.

Peanuts are loved by many species of bird. But taking a whole one, especially during breeding season when there are chicks in the nest, can cause problems. A wire mesh peanut feeder will allow the birds to peck at the nuts without taking a whole one. 

Fat Balls and Suet Blocks can be placed on a bird table. But you will find they don't last long as the bigger birds will scoff them quickly. In wet winter weather, suet products can also get soggy pretty soon if sat in rainwater on a bird table. A specialist fat block or ball feeder will keep the food in good condition for longer and make the birds work a little harder for their dinner, giving the smaller birds a chance to feed.

4.Don't Feed the Pigeons and the Squirrels.

If you are sick of seeing pigeons and squirrels snaffling up all your bird food, then some bird feeders could be the answer. Though you can squirrel-proof a bird table, and take steps to keep the pigeons off, keeping bird feeders free of these pests is a much easier task. You can even buy squirrel-proof bird feeders.

5.An Alternative to A Bird Table

Some gardens and outdoor spaces just aren't built for a free-standing bird table. Maybe you have decking, or a balcony, or just a window. In these situations, a bird table might not work at all. But there is always room to hang a bird feeder from a wall bracket or branch. Or you could place a pole-mounted feeding station in a nice big container on your patio or balcony.

6.More Fun For You

Of course, we feed the birds to help support them, but we also feed them for our own enjoyment, For the chance to get a bit closer to nature and watch these beautiful creatures as they enjoy a meal. Adding a bird feeder to your garden gives you different vantage points and more opportunities to observe different species and different behaviours. It's fun!

Conclusion: Feeders Full Of Advantages

Keeping wild birds well fed year-round has been shown to slow the decline of species and in some cases even increase the bird populations. Bird feeding is a good thing to do.

Each feeder you add to your garden is another food source, catering to the needs of a different species, gives birds a range of options and more space to feed and offers you more chances to get close to nature.

There are endless options for reasonably priced bird feeders. Why not treat yourself and your garden birds and get a couple of new ones for Christmas?

We hope you've enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you have questions or suggestions, we would love to hear them. Leave us a comment below.

Or for more garden bird reading check out our library here.