So you’ve read my gardening tips for December and whipped your garden into tip-top shape for your feathered friends to enjoy, and you’ve even got a brand new bird feeder in place. But as you wait silently by the back door in the mornings, holding your cup of coffee close to your chest as you eagerly peer outside, you wonder to yourself, ‘where are all the birds?’.
You’re not alone. This is a common problem for those who are new to bird feeding, or even those more experienced wildlife lovers who have perhaps moved to a new garden and are having trouble attracting birds. To help you out, I’ve listed a few common reasons why your favourite local birds aren’t visiting your yard, and how to fix them!
Your bird feeder is in the wrong place
Birds like to feed from an accessible, secure, safely placed feeder. Sometimes, if your feeder is placed out in the open and your garden is exposed to harsh winds or lots of rain, birds might feel that it is too unsafe for them to feed from.
You should also place your feeder in a location with little interference from humans. Humans are large, noisy creatures, and birds can get spooked easily! Placing the feeder next to a footpath is probably a bad idea; instead, place it at the back of your garden or in an area where there is little movement. Make sure shrubs (waiting spots) are available nearby too!
There’s a local hunter on the loose!
In addition to placing your feeder in a sheltered position and away from humans, you should also think about other wildlife (or pets) that could scare away your garden birds. For example, the neighbour’s cat could see a bird feeder as a prime target for catching a new toy, especially if it’s placed by a fence, tree or other tall object.
Squirrels are another animal that could take advantage of a bird feeder, by stealing food and scaring away birds in the process. As squirrels like to hang out in trees, and can also jump a reasonable distance off most structures, this is another reason to keep your feeder away from tall objects.
You’re using the wrong food
You might think that the all-purpose food that you purchased from the supermarket will do the job, but the truth is that there are different types of foods for different birds, feeders, seasons and more!
Now that we’re in winter, the birds in your garden will require different nutrients to what they consume in spring, summer and autumn. During the coldest months of the year, it’s more difficult for birds to find food; the ground is often hard, so worms and other insects are nearly impossible to dig up; the days are short; and the weather can make visibility and movement difficult.
With all this in mind, you should be putting out high energy bird foods that are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, unsaturated fats and oils. A wholesome seed blend is recommended for all year feeding, and will attract many different birds.
However, for specific winter feeding, fat balls tick all of these boxes in handy feeder-sized spheres. They appeal to lots of different species of bird, including great tits, starlings, sparrows and blackbirds.
Grumpy Gardener is offering an amazing package of 50 fat balls at QVC! These fat balls have been specifically formulated to provide your garden birds with the nutrients they need to get through winter. Plus, with such a large package you’ll never be short of food, meaning that there won’t be an opportunity for the birds to find another garden that will feed them better!
This Grumpy Gardener Box of Deluxe Fat Balls is available at QVC here.
Which birds have you spotted in your garden this winter?
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.