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Feed the birds, says Hawk Honey from Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Lackford Lakes

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Now more than ever, in these cold winter months, our garden birds need your help. Food is a scarce commodity and every little morsel is the difference between life and death, especially when you only weigh a few grams. Our garden feeding stations become central life-saving hubs of food provided by you. But what should you feed your birds during this cold part of the year?

A good all-round bird food that has a high fat content is sunflower hearts. These are the shelled kernels of sunflower seeds, so the birds don’t even waste energy shelling the seed. Another benefit for yourself, the provider of the food, is they don’t require a special feeder either. This seed can go into your ordinary seed feeder and the birds will happily feed as normal.

Another food that can be used in an ordinary feeder are suet pellets. These small bite-sized pellets of suet come in a variety of flavours, such as insect or wild berry, and can give your garden birds a much-needed boost. Whether used as the pellets on their own or mixed in with ordinary bird seed, your birds will be back for more with these on the menu.

Feeder with goldfinches (54786886)
Feeder with goldfinches (54786886)

Peanuts are the next must have winter food and again will attract a variety of garden birds and maybe the odd special visitor, such as great-spotted woodpeckers. The feeder you will require for peanuts will need to be different. These are cage-type feeders that only allow the birds to chip away at the peanuts, instead of taking away whole peanuts at a time.

There are other types of food that are better for particular birds and one in particular is good for finches such as siskins, redpoll and goldfinches. Niger seed is a fine seed which is perfect for the fine-pointed bills of these birds. They do require a special feeder though and this is a bit like a normal wild seed feeder, except the holes are very small, in the shape of a small slit that allows the birds to retrieve the fine seed. Siskins and redpolls should be with us during the colder months before heading off back north.

If you would like to know more or see the range of our Vine House Farm seed and feeders, please pop into the centre here at Lackford Lakes and speak to our friendly staff who can point you to the right food and feeder for you and your garden birds’ needs.

Long-tailed tits feeding on a fat blcok (54786888)
Long-tailed tits feeding on a fat blcok (54786888)

Hawk Honey is a visitor experience officer at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Lackford Lakes.

For more information, visit suffolkwildlifetrust.org/lackfordlakes