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Feeding Birds in your Garden

Feeding birds gives delight to many people, especially those that are unable to leave their homes, the sick, the elderly and young children.
An area for feeding birds bird or a table needs to be away from windows where the reflection of trees in the glass may make a bird fly into it. It also needs to be where a cat cannot pounce and reach the feeding birds. Suspending a table from a branch of a tree may solve the cat problem. If you cannot do this then have the table at least 1.7m off the ground.

It is also fascinating having a birdbath in the garden. Many birds will visit this, in particular starlings, blackbirds and thrushes and even fantails. Other birds will visit just for a drink of water. Do remember to clean the birdbath out every few days as birds do carry lice and the water will soon be contaminated with bird droppings and dirt.


Types of food for the birds

Bread: — many people give bread to the birds. In winter, sparrows and other introduced birds such as mynas and starlings are quick to eat this up. Do remember that bread has salt in it and too much salt is not good for birds. In spring, when birds are nesting, the young chicks need protein in their diet, so cut down on the bread. The birds will then look for their own food and the chicks will have a varied diet. Do not feed mouldy bread to any birds.

Seeds: — Seeds will bring in the introduced finches as well as the sparrows. You can use seeds from a pet shop or supermarket, or make your own up by buying different loose seeds and mixing it together. Some people buy lard, melt it and then add the seeds. When cold, this can be cut up, put into a fine net bag, and suspended from the tree, or hung off the bird table.

Household scraps can also be added to bird cakes.

Fruit: — Orange, grapefruit, apple and pear may be cut up and left on the bird table. Waxeyes and even tuis may come to love this fare. Remember that some birds may target your fruit trees. Do not put out any type of fruit that you want to harvest yourself. Alternatively, you may decide to share your fruit with the birds.


Sugar water: — The native and endemic nectar eating birds such as tuis, bellbirds and waxeyes, welcome containers of sugar water when nectar flowering trees are in short supply. You will need a cup of sugar dissolved in 1 litre of warm water. When cooled place in a container in a tree that is visited by tui and bellbirds.
Another recipe is HERE


Foods NOT to give Birds

Kiwi fruit is becoming a problem plant pest in some areas, please do not feed the birds this fruit as the seeds may cause the plant to grow in the bush.

Do not give desiccated coconut or salted peanuts, as this is not good for birds
Honey – it may spread disease
Avocado – is not healthy for birds and the skin and pit can be poisonous

Sugar Water Pinecone Feeder

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