three great tits on branch

How can I attract more birds for the Big Garden Bird Watch?

If you are taking part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch you will want to submit the best records you can for your garden, but you might be asking yourself, “how can I attract more birds for the Big Garden Bird Watch?”

There are lots of ways to attract more birds to the garden for the Big Garden Bird Watch, because those birds are already feeding in your local area. It’s important to consider the needs of the birds and try to cater for them on every level. It’s not just about feeding them, though that is very important, birds visit gardens for a variety of reasons.

Feed the right bird food

If you grew up feeding the birds left over bread and bacon rind you are not alone. But these are really not very good for the birds and can attract unwelcome visitors such as rats. 

Bird food is available in a huge range of mixes and varies in quality. The cheapest is really not the best, for many reasons. Cheap bird food is often full of poor quality ingredients and fillers that the birds don’t want to eat. It may also contain husked seed that the birds have to shell or dehusk to reach the nugget inside. Anything that makes feeding harder for the birds exerts precious energy and though it might be cheaper it is not giving them the fast high-energy fix that they need. The fillers and husks fall to the ground and may germinate or cause an unsightly build up of debris beneath the feeders that attracts all sorts of other creatures and you have to clean up. It’s far better to feed less of a high quality nutrient rich bird food than masses of cheap stuff.

If you haven’t tried Richard’s Premium Bird Food it is now available in smaller packs so you can let the birds decide. Buy a small pack and experience the difference, there’s reason why it gets five star reviews all day long. 

Richard Jackson High Energy Bird Food

Richard’s Bird Food is free from fillers and cheap ingredients. Every one of the thirteen ingredients has been chosen for their nutrient and energy rich status and for particular birds. So instead of feeding the birds different blends tailored for different birds, you can buy one super star mix to attract a wider range of species into your garden and feed them effectively. One customer recorded forty-four different bird species feeding in her garden when she started using Richard’s special formulation. It is designed to feed all types of birds including seed and fruit eaters, insect eaters and the peanut fiends that love the nutrient rich nuts.

Use a range of different feeders

Not all birds will hang from a bird feeder. Some just don’t have the right feet and claws to cling to a swinging feeder. Others like robins, thrushes and blackbirds are ground feeders and prefer to rustle about in the undergrowth. Present your bird food in different ways to cater for the different ways your birds feed. A ground feeder is a great way to feed the birds that rummage in the borders looking for grubs and seeds. Crumble a suet ball onto the feeder and watch, which birds appear. A bird table is another great way to present bird food for those birds that prefer to feed at a safe height from predators. Make sure all of your feeders are away from places where predators might linger in hope of a tasty snack. That means away from low hanging branches, trees and shrubs that might hide a cat, fences where cats can approach unnoticed. It’s far better to have the feeders right out in the open where you can see them. 

hanging peanut butter feeder with blue tits
Richard Jackson Hanging Peanut Butter Feeder for Birds

Hedges, trees and shrubs

Birds need safe places to rest, roost and nest. Mixed hedges are a great way to add this important layer to your garden. Many hedge species also bear fruit, seeds and nuts that provide an important source of natural food for birds and other wildlife. Beneath the hedge, ground feeders will find all manner of tasty snacks to eat. If you don’t have room for a hedge or a few trees then plant one or two berry bearing shrubs like pyracantha, mahonia and berberis. 

thrush eating berries from tree

If you do have room for trees then choose ones that offer early spring pollen and nectar for pollinators like birches, or those that fruiting trees like cherries, crab apples, apples and pears which will provide roosting places, perches and precious fruit for the gardener and the wildlife later in the season. See our feature on Are trees good for Birds?. If you already have a feature tree in the garden then smear some Peanut Butter for Birds on the trunk and watch the birds arrive, or secure a special Peanut Butter Feeder into its lower branches.

Essential water

Providing fresh and clean water for the birds is not just for drinking. It is essential that birds can keep their feathers in a healthy condition in order to fly, stay warm and stay healthy. They need to be able to bathe daily and a birdbath is a great way to provide a place for birds to drink safely and bathe. Keep the water clean with regular cleaning. Keep it free from ice and snow and topped up with fresh water. A clean functioning birdbath will be another attraction for the birds and enable them to spend longer in your garden. Watching the birds in a birdbath can be very entertaining and it’s a great way to get to know your garden birds. See our feature on How to provide safe water for birds.

sparrow bathing in stone bath
Fresh and clean water is essential for birds

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