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Maximising Nature’s Beauty - How to attract wild birds to your garden or outdoor space

Bringing the wildlife into your garden is wonderful both for us and for the birds. Add to the beauty of your outdoor space while protecting the wellbeing of birds and supporting the sustainability of a vibrant and dynamic eco-system. Whether you have a large outdoor space, small garden, balcony or even just a windowsill, bird watching can be an enjoyable activity from the comfort of your own home this Winter.

The early months of the year are an important time to feed the birds in the cold Winter weather. Natural food sources will have diminished significantly at this time of year, as the berries and fruits are gone, and there are fewer insects around. It is important to provide good quality, high fat and high protein feeds in feeders, on bird tables, in bowls and on the ground. Suet balls and Fat balls are a favourite for for many birds in the Winter as their high calorific value provides maximum energy for the birds. Make sure you’re offering a variety of seeds, nuts and dried insects to bring a variety of birds to your space! 

Bird friendly plants are also vital to attracting the birds. Native plants such as lavender, ivy and hebes attract insects which birds can feed on all year round. Providing berry-producing shrubs which also act as a natural food source will help to being the birds to your garden for feeding as well as for year round shelter. 

Bird houses and nesting boxes will provide good resting spaces for birds. Wild birds are working hard to find food and water through the short daylight hours and need a space to rest, as well as shelter from cats dogs or bad weather. Providing a place they feel secure will encourage them to keep coming back to visit you! 

Make sure you are providing fresh water and regularly cleaning feeders to protect the wellbeing of our wild bird population, preventing the spread of harmful bacteria and disease. 

Take time to sit back and relax, watching the beautiful colours of the birds fly about your feeders and listen out for their little tunes. Enhance your experience by grabbing a pair of binoculars and a bird watching book to learn more about the birds you see!

Birds which are common to UK gardens:


While male blackbirds, as the name suggests, are all black with a yellow beak, females have a brown plumage. Blackbirds are predominantly ground feeders and enjoy insects. Try scattering some dried mealworms on a low bird table or on the ground. 

Blue tits, Great tits, Coal tits

Small birds with various patterns of colours, ranging from blue and yellow to black and grey. Tits enjoy seeds and nuts, and their small lightweight bodies can often be seen visiting hanging feeders. Feed a mixed seed blend and some hanging suet treats. 


Robins are a familiar sight across the UK and are often a sign of Winter as they hop about patios looking for food. These red breasted birds are particularly territorial and will often stay in the same place providing they have access to feed and water. Robins love Sunflower Seeds and mealwoms off plates or bird tables.


Another common UK bird is the Goldfinch. Their brown bodies with bright red faces and yellow marking on their wings make them easy to recognise. Goldfinches have tiny beaks which they use to retrieve seeds from plants. They enjoy oil rich feed such as Nyjer Seeds from bowls and hanging feeders.

Song Thrushes

Larger than a black bird with a brown back and speckled belly. Song thrushes are beneficial to gardens as they eat the slugs, snails and caterpillars. Listen out for their repeating song patterns while they feed on leftover soft fruits and raisins.

Other tips for feeding birds:

Peanuts are a good high-fat feed for birds in Winter however should be put into a mesh feeder to ensure young birds don’t choke on them. 

Cooked pasta, rice and potatoes can be left out for the birds to enjoy. Ensure they are not heavily salted and only left out for a short time. 

Soak raisins and sultanas in water to make them easier for birds to digest. 

Keep food and feeders away from cats and dogs. Feed ‘leftovers’ high up on a bird table where pets can’t reach them, particularly raisins and sultanas which are toxic to dogs.

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