Perfect time to start feeding birds in your garden

With days are getting shorter and the nights becoming colder, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) would like to encourage consumers through their ‘Plan it, Plant it this Autumn’ campaign that now is the perfect time to start feeding the birds in your garden, if you are not already doing so.

Research within the HTA Environment report revealed that one in three people are now doing things specifically to encourage wildlife into the garden - which is an increase of a third compared to four years ago. Also, a survey by Ipsos Mori, commissioned by the HTA revealed that 75% of garden owners agree or strongly agree with the statement “It’s important to me that my garden supports wildlife like birds and bees”.

Over recent years, more products targeted at the wild bird market have become available in garden centres and consumers can now tailor feeding regimes to attract the birds that we most want to see in our gardens. 62% of us now regularly feed the birds in our garden and nearly a quarter provide nesting and breeding habitats.

Good quality high energy feeds are what birds need at this time of year to meet garden birds’ energy requirements through the coming winter and helps contribute towards the future of viable garden bird populations.

There are a wide variety of foods available which attract different species and different diners to your garden. Garden favourites the robin and blackbirds love plump, juicy mealworms which will provide a good source of protein, fat and valuable moisture. There is a huge variety of seed mixes are full of nutritional value and are eagerly consumed by most species. Straight seeds such as sunflower hearts are the first choice for many birds and black sunflowers are enjoyed by chaffinches, greenfinches, sparrows and tits. Nyger seeds are nirvana for goldfinches and siskins.

Jane Lawler, Marketing Director, Gardman said: “It’s really important to feed wild birds with high energy foods when it’s very cold or there is snow on the ground, as their body reserves have to be maintained if they are to survive the night, and a blanket of snow means that they can’t eat their normal insects and seeds. We reckon that more than a million wild birds are saved each year thanks to garden bird feeding.”

To highlight the importance of feeding wild birds, the RSPB will be running their annual “Feed the Birds Day” on October 27th with over 150 events due to take place nationwide.

Many HTA member garden centres across the country will be holding events to educate inform and advise customers on bird behaviour and how to attract them to your garden. Events include bird drawing competitions, making your own bird feeders, talks on how to identify different birds and how to care for them during winter. Please check your local garden centre for more details.