Why it's important to feed wild birds

Why it

Besides the delight of seeing and hearing birds in your garden, feeding wild birds also helps boost their population and positively supports their communities. We share some of the benefits and reasons why it's important to feed wild birds and offer suggestions on how you can make their daily lives easier.

Aside from why it's important to feed wild birds nutritious bird food to help them with their busy lives, it is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding pastimes that conveniently doesn't take much effort. Bird feeding is a hobby anyone can enjoy, regardless of age, and it's getting more popular every year.

Below, we look at a few reasons why feeding wild birds is important and how doing so will help them throughout the year.

Feeding birds helps to maintain their population

Providing your local birds with high-quality bird food can dramatically increase the population of birds in your area. By giving them a stable source of nutrition, you are helping to support them and their need for nutritious food. Having a reliable food source is especially important at times of the year when food is harder to come by and when competition is high.

In the mid-1990s, goldfinches declined, but by 2020 their populations were returning. This population increase mainly comes down to us feeding them and helping them when they need it most. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) put this down to better garden-feeding practices by the public over the last 15 years.

Offering them bird food during the colder months increases their chance of survival and assists them during the breeding season and the coldness of winter when there is not as much food around.

Offering wild birds food will attract them to your garden

When you leave bird food out for wild birds, they may not take it straight away, and this is because it may take a little time for birds to spot the food, and then they will want to scope out the area first to be sure the food is in a safe location, and there is no risk of predators around. However, once you offer wild birds quality food, they will visit and feast more frequently, and as time progresses, more birds will come.

Frequently offering food at similar times of the day can encourage more birds to come and sample the goods. Providing a variety of feeder types can also help entice a large variety of wild birds to visit, and where you place your feeders can also increase your chance of seeing a wide range of species in your garden.

Wild birds visiting your garden for you to watch can also help you relax, and it is comforting to know that you are doing something to help wildlife. It can also be an excellent opportunity to learn more about wild bird species and their behaviours and may even encourage friends or family to join in and help wild birds thrive.

Are there any reasons not to feed wild birds?

It certainly helps the wild bird population and us when we provide food for them, but there are a few things to be aware of before you begin. Most importantly, you must be prepared to clean their feeders regularly. Also, it would help if you carried out frequent routine food hygiene checks to ensure the food is free from mould and safe for them to eat. Trichomonosis is a bird-specific disease transmitted between bird feeders, baths and nesting boxes – keeping feeders clean is essential for this reason.

We have more advice on choosing the right bird food for your garden birds, how to clean feeders and nesting boxes, and even what not to feed wild birds.

Of course, if you have any questions, you can check out our Wild Birds FAQ section or contact us and we will be happy to help.