How To: Care for Birds in Your Garden

Our robust techniques on making the most of your garden for flying visitors.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Being a garden lover goes hand in hand with enjoying the flora and fauna a good garden attracts too, especially birds.

However, caring for birds in our gardens isn’t as straight forward as it sounds. Here are our ways for setting up features and caring for common British birds in your garden.


A Good Diet – Year Round

Due to bird migration, one could be easily mistaken for thinking that most of your garden bird care is done in Spring and Summer. However the reality is that Autumn and Winter are also critical times for taking care of birds in your garden. Cooler climates require birds to feed on food with a higher fat content, such as suet fat balls or high energy suet cakes. These ensure your feathered friends have a high calorific intake during harsh Autumn and Winter months.

During Spring, after burning off tons of calories, migratory birds will be arriving back to the UK. They’ll be hungry and looking for a place to nest. Bird seeds are a robust and abundant selection for birds after a long journey. For nesting and feeding places, check out our Top 10 Bird Hotels 2023 for our favourite picks which are both practical and stylish for your garden. Or check out our wider range here.

Things do not take care of themselves naturally during summer. Throughout this time it is imperative that birds stay hydrated, therefore top up water in your bird bath frequently and provide birds with a diet of mealworms, as it becomes harder for wild birds to naturally find worms when the ground becomes harder.

Where to Stay

It is important to consider where to install features that will bring birds to your garden. Installing a birdbox in the right place can be a great artificial nesting place for a variety of birds. Consider placing it high enough, between two to four metres up a wall or tree away from bushes and undergrowth where predators may hide.

Also, have your birdbox facing north or east, this will avoid direct sunlight and harsh winds in the UK. Make sure the entrance to your bird box is also clear and that there are no obstacles in front, creating a clear flight path. Also, it is best to slightly tilt your bird box, thus ensuring any excess rain water drains away easily.

A well placed bird box can be a safer and more hospitable alternative to natural nesting sites and will add so much more life and activity to your garden or outdoor space.

Birds and Water

A good bird bath can go a long way in caring for birds in your area. but it is important to keep in mind ways to keep your bird bath as hospitable as possible. Save water and let your bird bath fill naturally if you’re sure rain is coming. Clean your bird bath regularly, but never use any harsh chemicals on it (such as bleach, anti-freeze or salt) as these will contaminate your bird bath for a long time or permanently.

A good way to keep your bird bath from freezing is to keep a light ball floating in the water, a small breeze will move the ball around and create areas of ice-free water. On the opposite end of the scale during droughts as your bird bath dries out quickly birds may resort to using other nearby sources of water, such as open barrels or basins, which may be unhygienic or cause drowning due to their depth. Considerer covering such containers or, if clean leave a plank of wood or branch so birds can bathe here safely too.

Birds get excited with bathing but only do so when they feel safe. Installing a bird bath in an area with good all round visibility is also important. Also, place thorny vegetation or clear bottles of water on the ground surrounding your bird feeder to deter cats.

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