Feeding our Cotswold birds

Emma Bradshaw, of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, tells us the best way to feed our garden birds this winter

Winter is a good time to feed birds, when a combination of bad weather, short days and scarcity of natural foods puts birds under pressure. A variety of foodstuffs, such as peanuts, seed mixtures and fat balls are available from most garden centres and pet shops, as are bird tables and other containers to dispense food.

Other types of food readily taken by birds are half coconuts, scraps of bread and cake, cooked vegetables, especially potato, and fruit such as apples. Avoid very salty or dry foods such as salted peanuts, crisps and desiccated coconut.

Some food should be scattered on the ground to cater for birds such as blackbirds, thrushes, fieldfares and redwings which are reluctant to use bird tables. It is advisable to change the position of a bird table from time to time to avoid stale food and excrement accumulating around it. If squirrels become a problem, it is possible to purchase feeders that are surrounded by a strong mesh that will exclude squirrels whilst allowing small birds access.  

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