If you are new to feeding your garden birds you might find it hard to remember to top up their food and clean the feeders regularly – we’re all so busy and there are so many other jobs to remember around the home. But the more reliable you can be, particularly when food is scarce, the more birds will flock to your garden, so it’s important to put food out every day. Why not try some of the tips below to incorporate feeding your garden birds into your daily routine?
Feed the birds at the same time every day
Maybe it works well for you to feed the birds at breakfast time? Perhaps after brushing your teeth? How about while you wait for the kettle to boil for your morning coffee, or while you wait for your tea to steep. Try to find a time that you can stick to every morning so that the habit sticks. I tend to put the grill on in the morning to make breakfast for my daughters and pop out quickly while it heats up to refill the feeders.
Keep your outerwear near the door
It is a great idea to keep a pair of shoes that are quick and easy to slip on by the door so that you don’t need to go searching for a pair in order to get to your bird table. Why not leave an old pair of boots near the door in Winter and some sandals in the Summer so that you can make feeding the birds a two minute job – the quicker it is, the less of a hassle it will feel. Add a fleece, old pashmina or waterproof to slip on too – the cold, rainy days when you least feel like venturing outside are the days the birds will benefit most from the food. I keep some old fleece-lined Crocs by the back door so that I can run outside quickly.
Keep your bird feeding supplies together
If you have to trek across a muddy lawn in the depths of winter to retrieve the bird food from the shed, or venture into a freezing garage to dig it out the job will feel like a big commitment. If the food is kept close to hand and in the same place (maybe in a sealed tin or tupperware near the back door), it will make the job quick and easy. Just make sure the food is in an airtight box to avoid rodents.
Make time to enjoy your birds
Set aside some time each day to sit and watch your birds so that you associate the act of filling the feeders with the joy of watching the birds flock in. Perhaps if you feed the birds while the kettle boils, you could sit by the window to enjoy your coffee and watch the birds who have come to enjoy the food you put out? We always enjoy watching the birds while we eat breakfast.
Don’t run out of bird food
Sign up to our seed subscription service and receive a monthly supply of bird food so that you don’t run out. The birds will soon learn to trust you as a reliable supply of healthy food.
Keep a dustpan and brush with your bird food
If you have a handheld brush with the food it will take two minutes to sweep any uneaten food away and put it into the compost before refilling the feeder. Mouldy or wet seeds cause diseases and spilled seeds can attract rodents and squirrels so it’s a good idea to keep the feeders well swept.
Find an accomplice
If you live with others, see if you can involve them in your bird feeding routine – as long as they remember to wash their hands, children can be responsible for adding new food to the table, and they will enjoy hosing down a table when it comes to cleaning.
Make cleaning the feeders a quick and easy job
Store your cleaning supplies together – a pair of gloves, a bottle of mild detergent, a cleaning cloth and your dustpan and brush. On the same day each week, brush the food off the feeder and put it into the compost bin, dismantle the feeder or pull it down for access, spray it over, wipe it and rinse it with the hose, then leave it to dry. Reassemble everything, refill the food and then reward yourself with a hot drink and some time spent watching your garden birds. Diseases do spread quickly when bird feeders are dirty, but a quick clean will only take ten minutes of your week and your birds will be healthier for it.
Don’t forget the water
If you have a bird bath in your garden, don’t forget to empty it out and top up the water, particularly in cold weather when the water might have frozen.
Putting food out for your garden birds is a wonderful, altruistic hobby to add to your daily routine, but having wildlife to watch from your window is a wonderful benefit you can enjoy. How do you remember to keep your birds well fed?