Animals, Birds, Megan, Wildlife

Buying bird food for the first time can be daunting with so many types available. We’ve put together an easy-to-use guide to ensure you know what bird food to buy for garden birds in terms of season and species.

Why Feed Garden Birds?

Providing food for garden birds can attract a variety of beautiful and colourful species to your garden that will be sure to fascinate adults and children alike. It also helps out birds by supplementing their diet. This is especially important in the colder winter months when natural food can be scarce.

Ready To Use Feeders & Kits

The easiest way to start feeding your garden birds is to go for a ready to use feeder or a bird care kit. These come ready assembled, with suitable bird food for the feeder supplied.

Bird Seed Mixes

garden birds - bird on feeder dish

A variety of bird seed mixes are available for ground feedersbird tables and hanging feeders. They are an important food supply for many birds such as blue titsrobins and greenfinches, depending on which mix you choose. It is best to buy high quality bird seed mix, that do not contain fillers such as lentils and rice. Only a small group of species can eat these dry, so investing in quality, such as brand Red Barn, will attract a wider range of birds to your garden.

Straights

Straight bird seeds are great sources of fat for many birds. They are a great choice for the more experienced bird feeders that know which species nestle in their garden. Straight food is also suitable if you want to venture into making your own bird feeders.

Peanuts

garden birds - peanuts

Peanuts are a great source of protein and unsaturated fat for birds. Leaving peanuts out for the birds will bring in a variety of new species to your garden including jays, house finches, chickadees and woodpeckers. Smaller birds like robins struggle to eat peanuts and prefer for them to be ground or grated up. Donut feeders are suitable for peanuts, or alternatively go for a squirrel-proof feeder as our furry friends also enjoy peanuts and may scare birds off.

Sunflower Seeds & Hearts

garden birds - sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds, both in and out of their shells, deserve one of the top spots for bird seed to feed garden birds. Many species are attracted to eating sunflower seeds making them a very versatile bird seed. Leaving out sunflower seeds will attract species such as nuthatches, cardinals and grosbeaks. Sunflower seed hearts are also a good choice if you’re looking for a no mess bird seed. Sunflower seeds are suitable for use in most garden bird seed feeders.

Nyjer Seeds

garden birds - bird on nyjer seed feeder

Nyjer seeds are an excellent energy source for garden birds and are favoured by finches. They are an oily seed as they are rich in oil content. Note that once the seeds have dried up garden birds won’t eat them. Ensure you buy the correct quantity that you will use to prevent waste. As nyjer seeds are so small it is a good idea to buy a feeder specifically designed to hold them.

Mealworms

garden birds: robin eating mealworm

Offering mealworms to your garden birds will attract a wide variety of wild bird species. They are a great source of protein for garden birds and attract insect-eating birds such as bluebirds, sparrows and wrens.

Suet Treats

Suet treats are packed full of fat and are an excellent food to provide for garden birds in the winter, but are also suitable for all year round feeding. Many contain essential energy and fats provided by ingredients such as lard, suet and nuts. Suet can come in pellets, in blocks, in coconut shells or formed into fat balls. Each is suitable for a different type of feeder. Pellets are suitable for use in feeders and blocks are great for placing on bird tables or in ground feeders. Fat balls are suitable for use in fat ball feeders and coconut shell feeders come ready to hang up. Be sure to remove the mesh bag that fat balls come in before putting them out in your garden for birds to feast on.

Overall, feeding garden birds can be a really rewarding experience. With so many types of food available, you’ll never know what exotic species could be flying into your garden for a treat or two.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Gardening, Gardens, Tyler, Wildlife

Thinking about throwing away your real Christmas tree once Christmas has come and passed? Think again! There are so much you can do with your Christmas tree that can benefit the environment and also your own home. So when it is time to box up the decorations, consider our suggestions on what to do with your real Christmas tree after Christmas.

christmas-tree

Tree Pine Needle Sachet

One thing for sure, the scent that the tree gives is great and gives a fresh feeling in any room. This is why it would be a great idea to make a sachet of the tree’s pine needles and place them around your home so the freshness doesn’t leave in a hurry! Nothing is better than having a natural fragrance surround you.

Bee Hotel

Now I know what you’re thinking… it sounds odd but in fact it’s possible and very beneficial to the friendly Solitary bees that fly by. When creating the bee hotel, use the trunk as it’s the thickest part of the tree and then follow by drilling reasonable sized holes big enough for bees to fly in and out of. Once that is done, find the perfect spot to place your new bee hotel and make sure it is in direct sunlight.

Home for the Wildlife

If you don’t fancy bees booking reservations at the bee hotel, then we’d suggest making your old Christmas tree into a safe home for wildlife. All you’ve gotta do is place the tree in a corner in the garden that you’re willing wildlife such as Birds, rabbits, hedgehogs and squirrels to use. This ensures that they have a safe, dry spot to hide during the Winter season.

Bird Feeders

Another great solution to what you could do with the tree is to make it into a Bird Feeder holder. Find a spot where it’ll be easy for birds to find the tree and perch on the branches and then hang your filled Bird Feeders on the branches. Wild birds will feel comfortable while feeding from the feeders due to the natural tree setting.

Be sure to send us photos of what you did with your Christmas Tree through our Facebook and Twitter; we’d love to see what you did different!

Tyler at PrimroseTyler works in the Primrose Marketing team, mainly working on Social Media and Online Marketing.

Tyler is a big fan on everything sports and supports Arsenal Football Club. When not writing Primrose blogs and tweets, you can find Tyler playing for his local Sunday football team or in the gym.

See all of Tyler’s posts.

Christmas, Gardening, Gardens, Grow Your Own, Megan, Wildlife

tree branches in snow

Christmas is officially almost here. Although it is an enjoyable time of year for most, for some it can be a struggle. It is a challenging time for our stress levels with changes of routine and lots of pressure. This can be made even worse by an existing mental health problem. 1 in 4 people in the UK experience some kind of mental health problem in their lives. That’s a massive 16.41 million people. Venture into garden therapy and you’ll hopefully see lots of benefits.

Spending time outdoors can relieve stress and improve your mental health. If you’re feeling down, anxious, or struggling with something else, getting out into your garden might help. I myself suffer from depression.  From experience, spending time in nature improves my mental outlook, helps me relax and boosts my mood, even on the downest of days. We’ve compiled a list of things you can do in your garden at this time of year. Try one or more of them out if you want to see what garden therapy can do for you.

Meditate

garden therapy zen stones

Yes it may be chilly, but wrap up warm and find a nice quiet corner of your garden to sit down and meditate. Mindfulness is now a recommended treatment for people who struggle with their mental health. It it also used by people who want to improve their overall mental wellbeing. To get started with meditation, download an app such as Stop, Breathe & Think or HeadSpace. Both have simple, easy to follow meditations for beginners.

Feed The Birds

garden bird on feeding dish

Research has shown that watching garden birds is good for your mental health. Invest in some wild bird care and enjoy the wonders of the many species of bird it’ll attract to your garden. The most common garden birds in the UK are house sparrows, starlings, blackbirds and blue tits so keep an eye out for those. A good place to start is by buying a ready-to-use bird feeder and hanging it on a tree branch in your garden. Alternatively, there are a wide range of bird seed mixes, from general mixes to mixes that will attract certain species such as robins.

Grow Something

hands planting a cactus

Although this may seem daunting to someone who has never gardened before, growing something from seed doesn’t have to be stress central. In fact, you’ll be sure to feel a sense of achievement, nurturing something that started in your hand as a packet of seeds and is now something you can serve on your plate, or admire the beauty of. Invest in a grow kit and see where the world of growing plants will take you. You never know – this time next year you might be harvesting your own veg patch!

Mental wellbeing is boosted by being outdoors so don’t neglect your garden because it’s cold! Using garden therapy can reap great benefits. So get outside, get relaxed, and get happy.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Animals, Bird Baths, Composting, How To, Megan, Ponds, Wildlife

How To Care For Wildlife in Winter

As we approach the winter months, it is time for a lot of wildlife to find a cosy spot somewhere to hibernate. Species that do not hibernate prepare for harsh weather and a lot struggle to find food. This is where your garden can come in. By learning how to care for wildlife in winter you can save the lives of some wildlife that otherwise wouldn’t make it through the harsher winter months.

Hedgehogs

how to care for wildlife in winter - hedgehog

In order for hedgehogs to survive their winter hibernation, they need to have a substantial amount of fat stored. You can help boost their fat reserves by leaving out small plates of meaty pet food, along with crunchy pet biscuits, which will help take care of their teeth. Once hedgehogs are ready to hibernate they like warm spots under piles of leaves and in logs. We suggest when collecting leaves, instead of composting all of them, place some underneath hedges at the edge of the garden. This creates welcome places hedgehogs can make a home for the winter. Talking of compost heaps, hedgehogs often like to nest in them so ensure you check your compost for hedgehogs before turning it over. Alternatively you could buy a ready-built hedgehog home for hedgehogs to settle in to.

Birds

how to care for wildlife in winter - bird on a branch

As birds do not hibernate, it is important to provide them lots of food and a water source over winter. Food in the wild can be scarce over the colder months. To help prevent starvation, have a variety of foods available to them over a number of feeding stations. Feeding stations range from bird tables to hanging feeders to ground feeding stations. The more variety of bird food you put out, the more diverse a species of bird you will find in your garden. Peanuts, bird seed mix, fat balls as well as any leftover dried fruit are all good choices and will attract blue tits to robins to goldfinches. To find out more about what bird food to put out check out our article here. It is also important to make sure birds have access to fresh water. Keep your birdbath topped up and ensure it doesn’t freeze over by placing a table tennis ball at the surface of the water.

Pond life

how to care for wildlife in winter - frog in a pond

Many of your fish will hibernate at the bottom of your pond during the winter months. It is vital that your pond does not freeze over during extra cold spells. This can trap poisonous gases, as well as suffocate frogs and the like. Help prevent this by placing a tennis ball at the surface or installing a pond heater. If it does freeze over, place a pan of boiling water on its surface to allow the ice to melt. Ensure you remove any fallen leaves and dead plant matter from your pond. If you leave this it can release harmful gases as it decomposes.

Insects

how to care for wildlife in winter - butterfly on leaf

Insects are often long forgotten when it comes to garden wildlife, but they are an important part of your garden’s ecosystem. Many play the vital role of pollination in your garden. Others are great predator control. One way you can help insects in the winter is by letting the grass on your lawn grow wildly. Try and resist mowing it until spring. This allows a place for butterflies and other insects to shelter from the harsh weather. Another way to provide shelter, as well as food for some creatures, is to create a log pile. You can also drill holes in the logs to create housing for solitary bees. Alternatively, buy a solitary bee pollinator house. Once you’ve built your log pile, be sure not to disturb it as not to interfere with the wildlife community inside.

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

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