How do we get wild birds to our garden?

siskin wild bird on top of pine treeIn the mornings we hear them singing in the trees around our garden – usually out of sight – so how can I make sure my kids can see some wild birds? We saw a siskin sitting on top of a pine tree on our recent Winnie the Pooh style adventure walk – but we wanted them up close and personal.

The last weekend of January, every year since 1979, the world’s biggest wildlife event takes place in Britain. For one hour we – you – the kids – just need to do some birdwatching.  It’s the Big Garden Birdwatch run by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). Did I mention it’s the world’s biggest wildlife event? In 2014 nearly half a million took part!

You can register for a family pack to download online or get sent in the post here.

If you build it they will come…

Our first goal this month was to work out the best way to bring the wild birds to our garden. Get them out of those trees!

broken birdfeeder platformHere we were lucky as there already was a broken bird feeder platform in our garden. A piece of wood nailed to a birch branch.

digging hole birdfeeder platform

Out came the kids’ gardening kits.

robin inspectingWe dug a new hole and filled it with rocks to hold it up. A robin came to inspect our building works.

We decided to put it near a tree and some shrubs. Yes those pesky squirrels might be able to reach it but I wanted a location where the little birds could feed safe – especially as we have buzzards flying regularly overhead.

If you feed them they will come…

Theo looking at wild bird peanut cakeOur next task was to put out food to attract wild birds. We decided to go two fold – seeds and mealworms to attract a variety of our flying friends. How about a gourmet peanut cake for wild birds filled with bird peanut butter, suet, mealworms and seeds? I guess the wild birds liked it when we said ‘let them eat cake’ as soon it was gone. But I also had a seed ring.  And we put a tray with wild bird feed on the platform but soon it was on the ground! Which is why you will see a variety of meals for wild birds in the following scenes….

In sum – it worked! The birds started arriving and my kids could begin birdwatching. Of course, the robin showed up again and again.

Robin n bird platformAnd a blackbird. (I scattered some dried mealworms on the ground)

blackbirdAnd blue tits.

blue tits on birdfeeder

blue tit eating wild bird food

And a great tit.

Great tit DSC06259-great-tit-in-flight-w-800And the robin wasn’t sure how to deal with the tits.

robin and blue tit on feederRobin and blue tit

robin and blue tit

Plus perfect timing my son came home from Beavers (Scouts) with a print out for birdwatching and a home-made bird cake to add to the feeder.

In preparation for the upcoming Big Garden Birdwatch, I will have another update this week with some bird food recipes, books and other tips for kids. Then next weekend (24-25th January 2015) we will be out in the garden for one hour of birdwatching. We will make sure we have lots of treats to attract them to our garden. Any birds or animals my young wildlife detectives spot will be recorded and reported to the RSPB.

Update – Find out who was the unexpected visitor to our garden!

Will you be watching the wild birds too?

15 thoughts on “How do we get wild birds to our garden?”

  1. I love listening to the birds in the garden in the mornings, sadly we have too many stray cats so i don’t want to encourage the birds to come down

  2. We really should do this, though we are not in the country so don’t get too many birds in our garden, even when we feed them. Your photos are fantastic!

  3. Amazing! I haven’t heard of this event and it sounds like its going to be bigger now! Do you think it will work to a small terrace? I have so many birds visitors but they are mainly pigeons, magpies and seagulls. I had a hawk once. I am now thinking of how to do this! I want to join! #counytrkids

  4. What a great idea, I love getting my kids watching the birds if I can help it. It’s great to see your two out and enjoying making the garden ready for the birds to visit. Fab photos too, especially of the Robin staring at the Tit hanging off the feeder. Thanks for linking up with Country Kids.

  5. Yes, such beautiful photo’s and lovely ideas too. Our biggest problem about seeing birds in the garden is our killer cat-I know the birds are there but they very wisely stay out of the way when our puss cat is on the prowl.

  6. Monika @Madventuress (the winter camper)

    Oh thank you for the heads up on birdwatching. This will give us a good focus for the week ahead- we are joining you in making food and a feeding station. (Our neighbour already has one, so it will be easy to tempt the birds away from there. 😉 )

    You’ve captured some fabulous images of the birds coming in to feed.

  7. Shameless plug coming up – if your children are interested there might be an RSPB Wildlife Explorer group near to you that they could join (the RSPB website will have details). I run a monthly group in Oxfordshire but it’s probably a bit far for you! #countrykids

  8. What a fantastic thing to do and lovely to see such beautiful photos of the birds. Friends of ours have a lot of bird feeders in their garden and I’ve never seen so many birds! It’s a lovely sight, but apparently it costs them an absolute fortune in food as the birds devour it so quickly!

  9. What absolutely stunning pictures, I keep meaning to get us out there and build something for the birds and since we haven’t got anything planned today it seems a good a day as any, thank you for the inspiration. #countrykids

  10. These are such wonderful photos! I love robins and their cheekiness and calmness at getting so close to us humans but have never managed a decent snap. How lovely for your children to work together to build the table and encourage the birds in – it reminds me of being a child again, my dad was an avid ‘twitcher’ and we were always bird spotting in the garden at home. Lovely memories you’re setting up there 🙂

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