This section is dedicated to answering those questions you have in connection with care for your wild birds.
ANSWER: Different birds have different needs and likes, but generally the better mixes are formulated for feeders and bird tables and contain kibbled maize, and sunflower seeds for protein all year round, thus appealing to most birds. Tits, woodpeckers and nuthatches like peanuts; goldfinches enjoy nyjer seed whereas ground feeding birds ie, dunnocks, sparrows and collared doves prefer millet. Always ensure there is clean, fresh water on hand too.
ANSWER: Firstly, ensure it is high enough to offer protection from marauding cats, or other predators and where it is sheltered from the prevailing wind. A nearby bush provides both shelter and safety to the birds to eat in peace. Giving yourself the pleasure of seeing your birds feeding, and being close enough to identify the various birds that come to your table/feeder is also important, as is being conveniently placed in order that you can replenish it regularly.
ANSWER: Scrub your bird table at least 2/3 times a year with warm soapy water, You can also wash your feeders out the same way, ensuring they are properly dry before refilling them with seed. Always wear protective gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
ANSWER: Only in a crushed form. Do not ever leave whole peanuts on a bird table as birds can easily choke on them. Either place the whole nuts in a metal peanut feeder, or ensure they are thoroughly crushed or grated before placing on your bird table. Avoid the plastic mesh bag peanut feeders, as birds can get their feet entangled in these.
ANSWER: Feeding birds all year round not only encourages them to make a habit of visiting your garden regularly, but it also helps adult birds during the breeding season when they are busy obtaining soft food for their babies, and they need high energy food for themselves. Sunflower hearts and peanuts are a good source of protein at this time of year. Always ensure there is also clean fresh water available.
ANSWER: Goldfinches are becoming a more regular visitor to garden feeders. Their main diet is seed from thistleheads, and this can be bought in the form of nyjer seed. This seed will invariably attract goldfinches into your garden, especially if it is put into a dedicated nyjer seed feeder which has very small apertures. The seed is so fine it can blow away when placed on a bird table.