Providing a mix of different foods in your garden will help birds of all shapes and sizes. Peanuts are good for tits, green?nches, great spotted woodpeckers and siskins; niger seed is a favourite of goldfinches; and mealworms, preferably live or dried with added water, will attract robins and blackbirds.
Birds also feed in different ways: some like the hanging feeders but others prefer to feed on the ground. If you don’t have a bird table scatter some food on the ground and try filling the holes and cracks of a post or tree trunk with fatty food such as suet for agile birds like tits, nuthatches, woodpeckers, treecreepers and wrens. If you have trees and shrubs with berries on, shake off the snow so birds can get to the berries, you might be rewarded by a visit by a flock of waxwings.
Scraps from the kitchen can also make great snacks for birds. Mild, grated cheese is enjoyed by dunnocks and wrens, and excess or bruised apples and pears cut up and left on the ground may attract thrushes and fieldfares. Cake and mince pie crumbs, broken pieces of biscuits from the bottom of the tin and the insides of cooked potatoes are also good sources of energy.
Please avoid putting out mouldy, dessicated or dry food, fat from cooking, or anything salty or spicy, as these can be harmful to birds. Only leave enough that can be eaten in one day – otherwise you may attract unwanted visitors, such as mice and rats. And remember to put out a shallow bowl of water to enable birds to access water for drinking and bathing.
Small birds need lots of calories to survive through the long, cold nights. A blue tit needs to eat nearly a third of its body weight every day in the winter. Fat balls provide a high energy boost for many birds. If they are sold in nylon mesh bags, always remove the bag before putting the fat ball out – the soft mesh can trap and injure birds. Or have a go at making your own high calorie bird cake.
Things to do:
Buy your bird food from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust - food for birds including peanuts, sunflower hearts, niger seed and fat balls can be purchased from Wildlife Trust shops at Far Ings visitor centre, Gibraltar Point visitor centre, the Wildlife Gift shop in Castle Square, Lincoln, and from Banovallum House in Horncastle.