Birds find it difficult to come across natural supplies of food between October and April, so now is the perfect time to start feeding your local birds, if you don’t already. One of the easiest ways to attract birds to your garden is by adding a bird table. They are affordable and provide a valuable supply of food for birds, providing the owner remembers to keep it topped up with food of course. A bird table can be left out in position all year round and they require little maintenance, but there are a few things you should do to keep your visitors happy and healthy.
- Begin by observing the current feathered visitors to your garden. Different birds prefer different foods, so it helps to know what to buy. Read our list of foods to feed birds here.
- Buy a sturdy bird table that is built with sustainable wood. These bird tables will look attractive but also last longer than cheaply built alternatives.
- Start placing a small amount of food on the bird table and check how much is left at the end of each day. If all the food has gone, leave a little more. If some of the food is left, decrease the amount.
- Remove uneaten food to prevent it from getting mouldy. Dirty tables can spread diseases and sickness in birds. Clean the table using a mild disinfectant at least once a month.
- Don’t forget to leave some water for the birds too. Change the water daily.
- Move the table around the garden. This is a good way of preventing the build-up of droppings beneath the table.
- If you have an old bird table it’s a good idea to check it over each autumn and perform any necessary repairs. Check the screws are tight and replace any that are missing and give the table a good clean. You can prolong the life of a bird table by storing it in the shed during the summer months – unless you wish to continue to feed the birds during this time.
- Use a hose or watering can to wash away the droppings under the table. Remember that there are some bird diseases that can be transmitted to humans, so it’s important to be hygienic and teach children good hygiene with the table.
An alternative or additional way to attract more birds is to increase the amount of fruit and berry bearing trees, bushes and plants in your garden. Create a section that is full of flowers during spring and summer and the flowers will attract more bugs, the bugs will then provide more food for birds and they will soon come to your garden for their snacks.