Feeding birds who stay in this country over the cold winter months benefits both your feathered visitors and your garden. Nathan James Dodd describes how to encourage these visitors with bird feeders and specialist bird food.
Probably the most popular way to attract birds into the garden are feeders and there is an impressive range.
Gardman feeders and feeding stations are designed to contain various types of food, attract specific species and deter marauding squirrels.
Their premium and deluxe feeding stations, that also make attractive garden ornaments, have branches and feeding trays on which to hang and place food. By putting out various types of food, these feeding stations will attract many different birds.
Different heavy duty feeders are designed for various seeds and nuts while there is another specifically for suet.
Gardman Fort seed and nut feeders are designed to be squirrel proof, they can't reach the food or destroy the feeder by biting through it.
Other squirrel resistant feeders include diamond shaped globe cages that also deter larger birds, so smaller species can feed in safety.
For ground bird feeders there's a micromesh tray to keep the food dry and fresh, amongst others these feeders will attract blackbirds, dunnocks.
There are many types of bird food and you can buy specific mixes to attract individual species.
If you want great value, choose a high energy mix, look out for the ones with a low cereal content or added fruit and fat.
Small seeds will attract dunnocks and sparrows; robins are partial to mealworms while tits, greenfinches and siskins love peanuts.
Sunflower hearts and niger seed are well received together with sultanas after they've been soaked in water, suet and grated cheese.
To prevent unwanted rodents taking an interest and to keep the food fresh, don't leave out too much food and clear away any that isn't eaten.
To find out more information about the best ways to feed birds, take a look at this online RSPB Guide.