We have regular woodpecker families who love the peanut feeder which we keep topped all year round. They are top of the pecking order to all the tits and nuthatches. Our resident crows, nicknamed Square and Squawk, seem to do OK foraging in the compost heap. The kestrel sits on the phone wire and dives into the field if it spots something moving. The buzzards screech overhead, and have a favourite perch in a nearby oak tree, but they do fine for food without our help. I could do without the magpies attacking our bin bags on collection day (we are too off the beaten track for the Wheelie Bin dustcart to visit). It is the resident robin that I would like to do more for, and have just saved our sunflower heads for winter.
I regularly see birdwatchers in the village so we must be doing something right! Suppost I ought to thrust our Staffordshire Moorlands holiday cottage info at the next birdwatching group so that they can catch the dawn chorus . . .
anyway, here are the RSPB's tips on what to feed garden birds:
GOOD kitchen scraps:
- Uncooked porridge oats
- Cake crumbs
- Potatoes – baked, roast and even mashed
- Grated cheese
- Windfall, soft or over-ripe fruits
BAD for birds:
- Bread – it has very low nutritional content and is essentially a filler
- Salted foods such as bacon or peanuts (Barks does unsalted nuts only!)
- Polyunsaturated fats or vegetable oils – these can smear birds’ feathers making them less waterproof
- Milk – birds’ stomachs are not designed to digest milk
- Desiccated coconut – this may swell up inside a bird causing it to die.