With the weather changing the little birds that we love to see coming around the place are finding it harder and harder to find food - so let's help them!

Múinteoir Ray from After School Hub is going to show everyone how to make a bird feeder from a milk carton.

To see what you will need to make your bird feeder check out the daily Hub Update article HERE

While it's great to want to give food to the birds during the cold winter months, it is important to know where to put the feeder, and what type of food is best to put in it.

Thanks to our friends at BirdWatch Ireland you will know the dos and don'ts after reading their top tips below.

What food is best for feeding and attracting garden birds?

There is no single answer to this – each different food type has advantages and disadvantages and will attract a different mix of species to your garden. The golden rule is that a diversity of food types will give you a diversity of bird species.

The two bird foods we tend to recommend first are peanuts and sunflower hearts – they're both eaten by a variety of species, have high protein and calorie contents, and are readily available in most shops.

See the bottom half of this page for a summary of the different bird foods you can provide, their respective advantages and disadvantages, and a few tips specific to each type of food.

The robin might need some help if it is a harsh winter. Credit: Jim Wilson

Where should I place the feeders in my garden?

In general, you should put your feeders within a metre or two of a tree or hedge. Our common garden bird species are reluctant to come into open spaces as they're vulnerable to predation from Sparrowhawks and various mammal predators, so they like to know there’s some shelter (ie vegetation) nearby that they can escape into if a predator appears.

This is why the hedgerows in the Irish countryside are so important for many of our birds – it gives them a network of shelter where they feel safe, and also provides them with the berries, seeds and invertebrates they need to feed on. If you want to make your garden more suitable for birds and wildlife, see our 'Gardening for Wildlife’ section here.

Obviously, you want to get the benefit of seeing activity at your feeders too, so try and find that sweet spot where they’re placed close to vegetation but also in view from your window too!

What should I put out for my garden birds during cold weather, snow and frost?

This is when the birds really need you! A diversity of foods will allow you to help a diversity of species. High calorie foods like fatballs, suet blocks, peanuts and sunflower seeds are all great. Put the food in multiple locations – in different feeders, but also some on the ground (or roof or on top of a wall to keep away from cats/rats) for species that don't like hanging from feeders.

One of the most important things during cold weather is to put out fresh water. The icy conditions mean natural water sources might be frozen over, so your birds will need somewhere to drink and wash themselves. Keep an eye throughout the day to make sure the water you put out hasn’t frozen over and top it up with fresh water each day.

To learn more about our garden birds and how to help keep an visit this page on BirdWatch Ireland.

Have a look at this video on how to attract birds to a garden.

 

There are loads of great tips in the article on how to improve the overall biodiversity of your garden in this article from RTÉ Learn: Create a mini wildlife sanctuary

Tune in to After School Hub at 3.20pm on RTÉ2 and catch up on RTÉ Player