The Robin is one of the Nation’s favourite garden birds! It is the 9th most common bird in the UK according to the Birdwatch 2016 survey, but for many people it is the most loved.
About 12.5–14.0 cm (5.0–5.5 inch) in length, the male and female are similar in colouration, with an orange breast and face lined with grey, brown upperparts and a whitish belly. Young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown. It is not only common in the UK, but can also be found across Europe, east to Western Siberia and south as far as North Africa.
What do Robins Eat?
Robins eat worms, small insects and seeds. When their food source becomes scarce in winter they will eat just about anything put out for them on a bird table, especially fatty foods such as bacon rind and cheese. Robins are territorial birds and will aggressively defend their area. They will also return to known food sources, so if you put some seeds out on a bird table or hang a bird feeding station (see more about them here) then Robins will come back almost every day to feed.
Robins pair up for the breeding season (April to June) only. When a male robin has found a mate, he will strengthen their bond by bringing the female food, such as worms and caterpillars, which she begs for noisily while quivering her wings and can be mistaken by the observer to be the mother feeding her young. Most nests are located on or near the ground in hollows, tree roots, piles of logs and any other situations that provide a fully concealed cavity.
Once the female has laid her eggs, she stays in the nest for up to two weeks, crouching low over them, well concealed with only her brown back visible. The male brings her food, sometimes as often as three times in an hour.
Both parents take responsibility when feeding and looking after their chicks until they are two weeks old when they can fly and become fully independent, they will then leave the nest. The young hatch after 12-15 days, and become independent after 3 weeks.
Pairs of Robins which raise an brood early in the season are more likely to have a second or third brood in the same year. The female will sit on the clutch of 5-7 eggs while the male continues to feed and look after the year’s first fledglings.
Do you recognise these birds from their birdsong alone?
While you may not think that you consciously listen to birdsong all the time, all those pretty little chatterings and singings of garden birds do carve their mark in our brains. That’s why, when you’re driving out of the city and into the countryside, you feel a strong surge of nostalgia whenever you hear the intense calls and songs of wild birds.
Chances are, you’ll recognise a lot of birdsong when you hear it recorded or when you hear it in the garden. You look around thinking, ‘I know you, who are you again?’ Then you spot a blackbird sitting on the fence belting out his best song. ‘Ah, of course, a blackbird.’
Garden birdsong is buried within our memories and we recognise all the common ones. But, when it comes down to it, can we actually connect the song to the bird?
And how amazing would it be to sit out in the garden with friends or family and say, ‘there goes the bluetits again,’ without even looking around to check who’s singing?
With a bit of practice, connecting the birdsong to the right bird doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when some of the loudest and most confident singers are common birds like robins, blackbirds and tits.
European Robin Birdsong
Ok, so we’ll start off with an easy one. The European Robin is one of Britain’s most loved garden birds. This iconic fellow doesn’t migrate and instead entertains us all year round. Hopping around the garden summer and winter, robins are also typically unafraid of humans and often follow gardeners around.
So you’ve seen robins throughout your life and perhaps even have a resident robin in your garden. You’d recognise him in a split second by sight, but do you recognise his song? When you hear it as you’re eating breakfast, do you know it’s the robin?
Mistle Thrush Birdsong
The Mistle Thrush is a common Northern European garden bird that is a bold and aggressive feeder. Often forcing other garden birds off a bird feeder while the thrush pecks around, scattering seeds everywhere! Juvenile birds often look scruffy and can be difficult to identify. It’s upright stance and definite hops on the ground help to separate it from the common thrush.
I would love to see a golden eagle, but I’m guessing that many of you are like me and unlikely to see one in our gardens! These magnificent birds are native to the Highlands of Scotland and their piercing, screeching cry can be heard from a long way off.
One of the best ways to spot a golden eagle when you’re hiking in Scotland is to listen out for its cries. When you hear the call of the golden eagle, you’ll look up and see this feathered giant circling nearby.
Naughty Gnomes, Tea Cups and Space Ships! Here are some incredible bird feeders!
We all know what normal bird feeders look like; plastic or wire cylinders that hang from trees or brackets. Some are designed to deter squirrels. But these plastic and metal things sometimes look a bit…well, plain.
Gardens are a big part of our lives and they’re an area for self-expression, so why not check out some more unusual bird feeders and make the most out of a new excuse for design. The birds don’t mind!
See-through and suckered onto a window, this bird feeder offers an unrivalled view of the birds that visit it. Made of plastic and easy to clean, this can hold water or bird seed and the two large suckers give it stability for even larger birds like blackbirds.
The only downside is that sudden movements within the room may disturb birds and prolonged activity may make them wary of the feeder. Once they’ve grown used to humans around though and see the feeder is unaffected, you’ll have brave and happy birds feeding like there’s no tomorrow!
This is a super sweet miniature swing seat that holds plenty of bird seed and offers a new and exciting way for birds to get their food. While not to everyone’s tastes, those who like cute garden decoration will love it and it’s easy to hang from a tree branch. Unusual bird feeders like this certainly gain nods of approval from guests!
While the visiting birds may not realise they’re nibbling out of a wire owl, guests certainly will and this bird feeder is a cute way to get a new garden decoration while supporting garden birds.
Holding up to 0.58kg of seed and made of durable metal, this will keep the birds happy year round without being victim to squirrel teeth or bad weather. With an inbuilt hanging frame, you can hang this from a feeding station, a tree or a wall bracket with ease.
For those who love pretty things
#4 Fallen Fruits Upside Down Teacup and Saucer Bird Feeder
Unique and stunning, this hanging upside-down teacup and saucer bird feeder would look eye-catching in any garden, especially a teashop garden! With the hook to hang a fatball from and the saucer for bird seed, this is the kind of thing you’d see hanging under an elegant tree in a well-loved garden.
This is ideal as a gift to anyone who loves their garden and their garden birds. But don’t think this is the only tea-themed designed, check out the:
So you’re looking for a present for the joker within your family and friends eh? Then I think you’ve found the right bird feeder. This funny garden gnome has dropped trou for the birds and makes a great feeder for birds who love hopping about the lawn in search of nibbles like blackbirds and robins.
Not just for the ground though, you can hang this cheeky gnome up by the hole in the back (I know, I know) and affix him securely to a fence or garden wall. This is best if you have cats or foxes. Made from terracotta, this is a durable and well made feeder that is a total must have for anyone with a soft spot for garden gnomes.
This amazingly detailed police box bird feeder is perfect for anyone who loves Doctor Who, especially a child who you want to get interested in garden birds and…y’know…the outside. Not affiliated at all with the Doctor Who show, this would also work well as a gift for a policeman!
This is a really excellently designed lighthouse bird feeder that’s designed to hold 1.5lbs of Nyjer seeds (the favourite food of goldfinches). Made from wire mesh with plenty of perches, this won’t rot or be damaged and should last for years.
What makes this design ever better is the solar powered LED that glows gently throughout the night, making this a real lighthouse! Sunflower seeds and other small seeds are perfect for this and will rest in the tray at the bottom as well as in the body. Sparrows and finches will flock to this and the perches can fit around 15 birds on them at a time
It should be noted that to allow the solar panel to charge, you need to turn the switch on underneath the top lid!
Both fatballs or apples can be skewered on this feeder and provide nutritious and highly energy meals for birds. This rustic and intriguing design looks good hanging from a tree and fatballs skewered on it will be particularly well received in winter when birds need the energy to stay alive.
There are lots of unusual bird feeders and novelty items out there, everything from wooden swings to cheeky gnomes. While wire mesh bird feeders are certainly some of the most durable, there are many mesh designs that are more interesting to look at than the simple cylindrical feeders.
Novelty unusual bird feeders also made exceptional gifts for garden lovers, especially as they are as decorative as they are practical! If you love your garden and enjoy decorating it, then why not combine that passion with supporting British garden birds.
You know the drill; you buy a bag of bird seed and the birds go wild. Seed is scattered here and there and a month later you’ve got something resembling a wild weed garden under and around your bird table. You thought birds were hungry, why all the waste? Uneaten and scattered bird seed usually comes with filler foods that birds don’t like and husks that they abandon – it’ll ruin the look of your garden and just create more work – so choose No Mess Bird Seed! This is perfect to put in your Squirrel Proof Feeder
What is No Mess Bird Seed?
Birds are never going to be neat eaters in the same way you’ll never see Downton Abbey characters chilling in the sitting room having a T.V. dinner with lap trays. But it’s not the manner in which birds eat that’s the problem; they don’t mind hopping about the grass to pick up scattered seed. The problem with messy bird seed is that the stuff scattered and left to grow isn’t actually what the birds want to eat.
Lots of bird food like peanuts have husks but birds prefer to de-husk seeds and nuts and eat the deliciousness on the inside and leave the husk to rot on the bird table or in the grass. No Mess Bird Seed has already been de-husked for the birds and for the cleanliness of your garden.
Cheap filler foods that birds don’t like much will result in them shirking that element of the bird seed and leaving it to rot and grow in your garden. Buying better quality bird seed that’s actually made with the birds in mind is a far better option and a big part of what makes No Mess Bird Seed not messy!
No Mess Bird Seed is usually:
De-husked so no husks are left by birds to rot
Full of seed that garden birds love
Wide in range to appeal to all garden birds
Dustier than husk bird seed
The favourite food of garden birds!
You should choose No Mess Bird Seed
Birds simply love No Mess Bird Seed because it’s been tailored to their tastes and it contains no husks, which they have to expend energy of getting off the seed. This makes No Mess Bird Food a better food for the birds themselves, not just you and you’ll soon see how happy it makes them.
With the husks not present, dropped seed can’t grow and that means that not only is scattered seed not a problem, but if you don’t have a bird table to begin with then you can use No Mess Bird Seed on the lawn without having to worry about sprouting a weed garden.
Bird Seed Ingredients
The best No Mess Bird Seeds usually contains a range of seeds like sunflower as well as kibbled maize and no-husk oats. This type of bird food is high energy and caters to the tastes of all garden birds from bluetits and robins to blackbirds and goldfinches.
Big brands like RSPB and Gardman make outstanding No Mess Bird Seed and in the case of the RSPB, all profits go into the charity. Supporting British garden birds by giving them No Mess Bird Seed really is making a difference.
The Best No Mess Bird Seed
Because the birds in your garden will vary from other people’s, it can take a couple of bags of different brands to really hit the nail on the head and get the perfect bird seed for your garden visitors. However, whichever you buy, chances are it’ll go down a treat.
With a good mix of sunflower seeds, oats and maize, this No Mess Bird Seed can be used on lawns, patios, bird tables and even in bird feeders. Appropriate for all year round use, this is packed with energy and will be an instant hit with all your garden birds.
This No Mess Bird Seed from Gardman is a total bargain and should keep your birds going for months and months. With no husks, there’ll be no sprouting weeds and the seed is much easier and faster for the birds to eat.
Because scattered feed can’t grow, you can use this on the lawn without worrying or just stick it on the bird table or in the feeder and watch the birds flock!
Specifically designed to appeal to a broad range of garden birds and containing no dull fillers that won’t be eaten, this No Mess Bird Seed from Kew will spark a feeding frenzy of happy garden birds. Made from sunflower hearts, kibbled maize, red dari, yellow millet and pinhead oatmeal, this can be scattered on the lawn, patio, bird table or used to fill a bird feeder.
Rich in energy and suitable for year round feeding, this mix won’t leave husks and rotting matter in your garden or on your bird table. British garden birds really do need help getting enough food, in the summer as well as in the winter and seed mixes like this are saving their lives. Support British garden birds!
This ChapelWood No Mess Bird Seed not only contains a range of de-husked seed and kibbled maize, it also has suet pellets, which are packed with fat and energy. This is especially good for colder months but garden birds need feeding throughout the summer and autumn too.
ChapleWood have a range of No Mess Bird Seed so you can change it around at different times of the year. While the suet pellets are great for winter, the Everyday No Mess Bird Seed is brilliant for spring and summer which its easily digestible seed and wheat.
Garden birds are declining and if you have a patio, garden or even just a balcony, there’s so much you can do to help keep these wonderful creatures fed and healthy. De-husked bird seed not only keeps your garden and patio clean, it also saves birds time and effort – they don’t want husks either!
No Mess Bird Seed is a win-win for the birds, for you and for your garden. It’s no just No Mess, it’s a No Brainer!
A British manufacturer, Tom Chambers is a highly reputable company who have been crafting excellent quality garden and wild bird products for over fifty years. With a comprehensive range of Tom Chambers bird tables available online, this is a trustworthy brand that make products that won’t fall apart. If you’re looking for a bird table that lasts, then you need a Tom Chambers bird table. For Tom Chambers Squirrel Proof Bird Tables See here.
Why are Tom Chambers Bird Tables So Good?
All made from FSC certified wood, Tom Chambers make their bird tables using sustainable sources but their expertise goes much further than that. Their bird tables are built at heights to keep feeding birds safe, they come with durable, real roofs and they are extremely stable.
So many bird tables are poor quality wood, hastily stapled together and will fall apart after a single season. Do you want to waste money on something cheap and distinctly not cheerful? What’s the point in buying a bad quality bird table only for it to fall apart the next year?
Tom Chambers bird tables are:
Built to withstand the trials of British weather
Made from high quality, durable wood
Made from FSC certified sustainable wood
Made with slate and wood roofs to last years and protect birds
Built at heights to keep birds safe
Made to be very stable on patios or lawns
Slate roofs: Most bird tables come with wooden roofs but these will eventually become damp and rot, especially as they take the brunt of the weather. Genuine slate is used in many Tom Chambers designs and not only does it look beautiful, it’s incredibly practical as well.
Drainage holes: Essential to get rid of dampness from the table, small drainage holes are drilled into the corners of Tom Chambers bird tables to allow rainwater to escape.
Stable bases: You’d think that this was a given for a bird table the height of a person, but actually, many companies only offer simplistic cross feet, meaning the bird table will fall over in reasonable wind. The Tom Chambers designs tend to have much more stable bases, with reinforced joints and cross beams to give the table more weight and stability at the bottom. This is crucial in winter when winds can be very strong but birds still need to eat.
Good Height: Coming in a range between around 150cm and 210cm from base to roof, Tom Chambers bird tables are excellent heights to keep birds safe from cats and foxes.
Bird-safe wood stain: In order for wood to remain waterproof and mould-resistant, it must be coated in a good preserving treatment. These also give different colour finishes. But birds are eating and sometimes drinking off these surfaces and so the treatments must be non-toxic and bird-friendly. Tom Chambers designs all feature non-toxic wood treatments.
Let’s take a look at the 5 best Tom Chambers bird tables
Tom Chambers Garsdale Bird Table
One of the shortest Tom Chambers bird tables at 155cm, the Garsdale is an excellent, simple bird table with a slate roof. Crossbeams create a stable base and the rounded wood has a pleasant and finely crafted impression.
TheTom Chambers Garsdale Bird Table roof is a simple triangular tent design that allows water to run off and leave the seed and birds dry and safe. The Garsdale is made from Swedish Redwood and treated with a non-toxic wood stain that brings out the colour and protects from wear. This is a good, straightforward bird table that will feed all your garden birds from day one.
Bedale Bird Table
With a super solid base, this bird table is tall at 178cm but will stand strong in your garden whatever the weather. The wide, overhanging slate roof allows water to run off and ensures birds can feed even in the pouring rain without seed getting wet.
This Bedale Bird Table is one of Tom Chambers’ best designs and the four-sided slate roof is visually very impressive. The table itself is surprisingly enclosed given that it’s open on all sides, thanks to deep fiddles and the overhanging roof. Made from Swedish Redwood as well, this is a high quality bird table that should last for years and years. Like all Tom Chambers designs, it comes in two pieces and is easily assembled with wing-nuts.
Tom Chambers Hambleton Bird Table
This Tom Chambers Hambleton Bird Table blends the Bedale and the Garsdale designs into one to produce a classic and stunning bird table. Featuring rounded timber and a four-sided slate roof, this table gives birds excellent shelter from rain and sun.
Very stable with heavy duty cross beams around the base, this should be able to easily withstand inclement weather and protects birds from cats with a height of 170cm. Like all Tom Chambers bird tables, no tools are required to fix the two pieces together with they arrive, just do up the nuts!
Dovesdale Bird Table
This is really the king of Tom Chambers bird tables and offers everything your garden birds could need in a table. The hexagonal design gives birds excellent protection from rain, sun and wind and the deep fiddles mean seed shouldn’t spill. The slate roof won’t get damp and the wood is high quality and very durable.
This Dovesdale Bird Table is an investment in the lives and safety of the garden birds in your area and it should last for years. A substantial base gives this the stability it needs to stay upright in nasty winters and the drainage holes in the table mean that seed shouldn’t become damp and rot.
The overhanging roof not only gives amazing protection but it looks beautiful and classic too. If you’re looking for the best bird table out there for looks, wallet-friendliness and bird-friendliness, this is the one you should buy – it’s simply fantastic. At 180cm it’s at a great height to keep birds safe from cats too.
Tom Chambers Richmond Bird Table
From a practicality point of view, this Richmond design isn’t any better than the awesome Dovesdale above, but the aesthetics have been taken to a whole new level. With overlapping slate tiles and routed wooden decoration, this is a stunning bird table that is a must for those who like the most beautiful things for their garden.
This design takes all the best parts of the other designs, a good height (180cm), a heavy, stable base and a safe and sheltered feeding table and combines them with elegant craftsmanship. Again, this should last for years and years and the decoration is timeless and not at all overbearing. This is simply the best for those who value quality craftsmanship and an artistic flair.
Bird feeding stations are a step up from solo bird feeders and provide a larger array of choice and space for your visiting garden birds. Ranging from coat-rack style stations to hanging platforms, feeder stations are perfect for gardens full of birdlife or if you want to attract more wild birds to your area. For Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders see this page.
What’s good about bird feeder stations?
When you’ve only got a single bird feeder, chances are that only two or three small birds will be able to fit on the feeder at a time. Many only have two seed doors as well, so only two birds can realistically feed at a time. This isn’t ideal for several reasons.
Some garden birds are a little feistier than others and might dominate the feeder and cause a fuss if another bird tries to join them.
A crowded bird feeder can send small birds off elsewhere in search of food, and the aim is to attract a good population of birds to your garden.
Bird feeder stations allow a much larger range of birds to enjoy plentiful food in your garden without overcrowding or risk of annoying each other. What’s more, you can fill different feeders with different seeds and attract bluetits to one feeder and goldfinches to another at the same time.
What exactly is a bird feeder station then?
Bird feeding stations are set-ups with more than one platform or container for birdseed. Popular ones are poles with several branches coming off and from each one you can hang a bird feeder.
Other bird feeing stations look like stepped platforms, with multiple bird tables spanning out from one stand. Some are freestanding for the lawn or patio, some are hanging from trees and some are bracketed for the sides of buildings and houses. Whatever type of garden or home you have, chances are you’ll be able to find a bird feeder station to suit.
How to choose the bird feeder station for you
Perhaps you live in a large house with sprawling gardens, or maybe you live on an estate with a pure grass back garden or perhaps you live in a highrise flat with a small balcony – wherever you live and whatever type of home you have, there’s a bird feeding station for you. Except if you live on a squirrel farm or at a cattery. In which case…maybe not.
If you have squirrels… If you live in a garden with pesky squirrels then you’ll need a bird feeding station with squirrel-resistance baffles or a multi-branch hanging station where you can hang globe mesh squirrel proof bird feeders.
If you have cats…If you have cats then hanging bird feeding stations are also good, or bracketed stations as cats cannot get to either of these. Larger platform bird stations are probably not a good idea for those with cats or squirrels as these often have thick wooden stands, which are easy for both to climb.
If you live somewhere without a garden then bracketed bird feeding stations are excellent. You can attach these to an exterior wall or balcony and birds will be able to find a great source of food within the urban area. The Chaplewood Wall Dining Station is a perfect example of a bird feeding station that can be attached to exterior walls. You don’t need a garden to enjoy garden birds!
For those with gardens, the coat rack style bird feeding stations are ideal and you can affix baffles to them if you have a squirrel problem. When you buy one of these freestanding designs, you typically buy the frame itself and have to buy the actual hanging feeders separately. This is beneficial because feeders can be very different and it’s important to buy the ones that suit you and your birds.
Very affordable and beautifully designed, this stands freely on lawns or patios and allows for not only four separate hanging feeders, but also fat ball hanging as well as a bird seed tray and a bird bath. Amazing huh? Within a week your garden will be the playground of all the local small garden birds.
Much like the Gardman I mentioned above, for only a few pounds more you can get the comprehensive wild bird feeding station that comes with four hanging feeders to start you off. This is the perfect solution for those with a generalised array of garden birds who want a freestanding bird feeding station, as you don’t need to spend anymore on buying feeders.
With a fat ball hanging branch and four hanging feeders, all you need to do with this is fill it up with seeds and exciting bird food and watch the little brightly coloured feathered creatures descend. The feeders are all different and designed for different fillings and different birds, making this ideal to attract a range.
While this is a freestanding station, it doesn’t have a base and instead the pole must be driven into the ground. Therefore, it requires a garden rather than a patio. If you have a garden though, this is an absolute bargain and a great, metal design that is durable and effective.
Best Bird Feeding Station for Multiple Bird Populations
This extraordinary design is ideal for gardens with large bird populations or true bird lovers. With space to hang ten bird feeders, you can really cater individually for every type of bird that visits. While the feeders themselves aren’t supplied, this means you can buy weight operated squirrel proof feeders, peanut feeders and any other type without having to stick with what’s provided.
At 220m high, this pole design must be driven into the ground and needs a garden and not a patio. Very easy to put together, one you’ve got your seed-filled feeders and some fat balls up, just sit back with a camera and a cup of tea and watch the sheer joy of the garden birds as they flit between feeders.
If you don’t want a freestanding bird feeding station then a hanging one is the best option. These can be hung from trees, brackets or really anything you have with height in the garden. The Hanging Wooden Bird Feeder Station is a pretty wood design with two integrated bird feeders. It also has a mesh section for suet, a water bowl for drinking and a fruit pin for fruit or fat balls.
Birds won’t be too exposed with this unique design and are protected from rain by the roof – which has the added benefit of preventing rot and mould on the seeds and peanuts. This is a small yet comprehensive hanging bird feeding station that provides plenty of options for a variety of garden birds while not needing a lawn.
The two integrated feeders are different as well, one for seed and one for peanuts. With no assembly required and no extra purchase except for the food, this is a real bargain and attracts all sorts of garden birds. Fill it up and hang it up and within an hour you’ll have your first feathery friend.
Unobtrusive and neat, this two-feeder wall bracketed bird station is a great way to feed the birds without needing a garden or patio. This simply screws into an exterior wall or balcony and comes ready with two bird feeders; one for seed and one for peanuts.
The feeders are metal and very durable from weather and hungry squirrels. Only protruding out from the wall by 30cm, this is ideal for those with not much space or who want to keep their birds feeders up out of the way of cats. If you have an overhanging roof, then you can even keep it fairly sheltered from rain.
If you don’t have cats or squirrels in the area and want a traditional bird table feeding station then this is a great product. With a durable roof, seed and nuts stay dry even in rain and birds have somewhere sheltered to fill up on snacks. The wooden design means you could easily screw small hooks into the side from which to hang fat balls, even though the design doesn’t include these.
Thanks to the highly sheltered design, larger birds like pigeons and jackdaws won’t fit inside, leaving the seed and nuts for smaller garden birds. At 4.5ft high, this is a solidly built and stable bird feeding station, although in strong winds with no wall or hedge for protection, it may need a weight to keep it upright.
Many wooden table designs are flimsy and poorly made but it’s definitely worth investing in something better like this. Offering small birds real protection, this is the perfect answer for any bird lover wanting a traditional wooden bird feeding station.
Everyone knows that birds like to sing, fly and eat but bathe? If you want a garden filled with the sights and sounds of happy garden birds then a bird bathe is the next thing to invest in after a bird feeder. Because y’know what? Birds love to bathe.
What are bird baths for?
While scientists aren’t quite sure exactly why birds need to bathe, it’s undeniable that they love to do so. Anyone who’s witness a bird taking a bath will remember the splashing, the washing and smoothing of feathers and the stop start motion as they wash, look around, wash, look around.
There are some interesting theories about the necessary nature of bird bath times and one such theory is improved flight performance when feathers are cleaned. Feathers are replaced around once a year but take huge amounts of wear during that time and must be taken care of.
Bird baths also provide drinking water which is especially useful in the height of summer when it’s hot and the dead of winter where other sources may be frozen over. How to stop your birth bath freezing? Pour warm water into it (not hot!) and watch as the birds scramble to bathe and drink.
Whatever reasons draw garden birds to bird baths, it’s clear that they love them and a bird bath is a great addition to any garden. Not only does it provide a much needed place for birds to bathe and drink, but it also provides you with hours of amusement watching them splash and frolic.
Types of bird bath
If you have a bird feeding station, it may come with a bird bath like that on the Gardman Deluxe Bird Feeding Station. These are great for small birds but larger birds like blackbirds and even pigeons like to visit bird baths and a more solid bath is a good idea.
Typical bird baths are either stone or ceramic and there’s a good reason for this. Firstly, they’re solid and sturdy and can take the splashing of even large birds and secondly, they are often carved or cast with patterns to be more aesthetically pleasing. Stone and ceramic bird baths can also take a lot more wear and are waterproof. Most are also freestanding.
Things to consider when looking at bird baths
Birds get very distracted when it comes to bathing and they become very absorbed in the act of flicking water over themselves and preening their feathers. Although they do often look up and check they’re safe, they’re still at one of their most vulnerable times when in a bird bath.
Keep in a clear area: It’s imperative that you place the bird bath away from places cats can hide or jump from. The best place is in the middle of an open lawn or at least somewhere with a reasonable clear area around it; this means birds can see anything coming from a distance and have time to fly away.
Elevation: Bird baths should also ideally be elevated on a podium and stone bird baths are classic examples of this. Often with heavy bases, stone bird baths are frequently around three foot off the ground and offer good protection and visual signals from cats.
Able to survive freezing: Ceramic bird baths should be fired and glazed in order to survive water freezing inside of them and all bird baths should have grippy rims so birds can stand safely. Glass bird feeders should also be designed to survive freezing.
Graduated depth: Your new bird bath will attract all sorts of birds from tiny wrens to collared doves and as a result you need it to be shallow and deep enough for all. Birds don’t submerge themselves and can easily drown in deep water – say, a water butt or raincatcher – so you don’t need a deep bird bath. It must be shallow enough for the tiniest birds to stand safely and two inches of water at the deepest point is sufficient.
Fresh water: Bird baths should contain both freshwater and only fresh water! Don’t leave water for weeks at a time otherwise it will grow algae and become a breeding ground for insects such as mosquitoes. To stay clean, birds need clean water. While some people happily change the water every few days or simply let the rain fill it and the sun dry it away, you can also get pump-systems integrated into baths. Some are even solar-powered and circulate water. A great reason to do this? Birds keep an ear out for the sounds of running water and will soon come to see what’s happening if they hear water moving.
Heated bird baths
If you live in an area that freezes in winter, you might want to consider a heated bird bath. Birds find winters extremely cold, so cold that wrens in particular seek each other out and huddle together to stay warm in large numbers! Providing a safe place to drink and bathe in fresh warm water truly transforms garden birds’ winters.
If you’re looking for a bird bath but don’t want to spend lots of money on something you’re not sure off then the RSPB Bronze Bird Bath is a good starting point.
Very affordable with the profits going into the charity, the RSPB Bronze Bird Bath has a graduated, shallow dish for keeping all sorts of birds clean as well as safe. Durable, weatherproof and easy to clean, this bird bath looks classic but remains lightweight for you to move it easily. The guys at the RSPB even supply it with ground pegs to ensure its stability.
Assembly is very easy and while it’s made of resin, it looks exactly like full bronze metal. I’m a huge fan of this bird bath and it’s the best way to look after your garden birds without committing to the higher prices of stone bird baths.
Britain is a country of garden birds whether you live in city centre London or out in the Cotswolds. With so many green spaces combined with fertile land and plenty of rain, plants and birds flourish together and only in the dead of winter will you take a stroll outside and perhaps not hear birdsong. Attract even more birds to your garden with one of these squirrel resistant bird feeders.
But who are these bouncy little birds that alight on the lawn, survey the area and then pull up a worm? Who is that bright blue sphere of feathers or that yellow fellow with the loud song? Who exactly are we feeding when we put out our birdseed – and what’s their story? You can always get tons more info from the RSBP here.
The European robin is one of the most common garden birds you’ll see hanging around your fences, lawn and, of course, on Christmas cards. These curious and colourful birds tend to stay in the same area and so if you have a robin or two in your garden, chances are you’ll get to know them quite well. In fact, the males are very territorial and will happily lay claim to your garden.
Robins aren’t particularly afraid of humans, which is possibly why we have such affection for them as a nation. If you’re digging in your garden, chances are you’ll have a robin perched nearby, ready to relieve you of any worms or interesting nibbles you might find.
Markings: Both male and female adult robins look similar with brown backs and orangey red breasts. Juvenile robins tend to be on the scruffy side and lack the iconic red breast, instead having a more dappled appearance.
#2 Great Tit
The Great Tit is a colourful and common garden bird that has a distinctive black head with white cheeks and a yellow breast and a black stripe down the centre. They tend to stay in Britain all year round but sometimes migrate if it’s particularly cold.
Common in forests and gardens throughout the UK, great tits are territorial and if a pair take up residency in your garden then they may well be there to stay. They enjoy feeding from bird tables and feeders and in winter they even team up with other members of the tit family to forage for food. Great tits will also make ready use of bird nesting boxes and thus provide us with wonderful entertainment all year round.
Markings: These charming garden birds are members of the tit family and are the largest, hence the ‘great’. Male great tits tend to be more vivid in colouring and look like little works of art, while the females and juveniles have more muted colouring and a less obvious black stripe.
#3 Blue Tit
No British garden would be complete without a blue tit or two and this common garden bird is easy to spot with its blue cap and blue flashes on the wings. Like the great tit, the blue tit also has a yellow underside and is a keen visitor to bird tables, bird baths and feeders.
Acrobatic and lively, blue tits are very entertaining to watch scouting for food and like insects and spiders as well as birdseed. Smart and inventive blue tits have been known to get into all sorts of food containers and will stay all year round in the gardens of Britain.
Markings: With a bright blue cap, white cheeks and a distinctive black mask-like line across the eyes, the blue tit looks a little like a miniature superhero. Dusty blue wings and a yellow underside means that this little bird cannot fail to be identified although juveniles can be scruffier with more yellow undersides.
The goldfinch is a truly exotic looking bird and bigger than the tit family. Native to Europe, the goldfinch can be seen more and more in British gardens but moves more readily to warmer areas, even within the same country, should winters get tough.
To attract goldfinches to your garden, nyjer seeds available here are their catnip and will solidify their presence in your garden.
Markings: Both male and female goldfinches look very similar with a bright red circle on their otherwise black faces. With a yellow strip on their black wings and a brown back, these multi-coloured birds are easy to identify.
Possibly the most common of garden birds, the blackbird is likely to be seen hopping around the lawn of most gardens. Usually in mating pairs, male blackbirds are particularly easy to spot with their jet black bodies and bright yellow beaks.
These birds are territorial and the pair will adopt your garden and stay all year round, bringing up their offspring there too. Particularly fond of worms and insects, they’re usually pulling things up from the flowerbeds and lawn and the male blackbird has a distinctive a beautiful song. These birds will feed off bird tables and wash in bird baths but tend to avoid bird feeders which are designed for smaller garden birds.
Markings: The male blackbird is jet black with a yellow beak and a yellow ring around the eyes. The female however, is dappled brown and has a brown beak. The juveniles look similar to the females but will be scruffier and probably following the parents about on the lawn, demanding food.
Another extremely common garden bird, the sparrow is a prolific native to the UK and can be seen not only in gardens but also in cities. They’re often hopping about parks and pavements picking up crumbs dropped by humans and aren’t very shy at all.
Sparrows are big seed eaters and are very satisfied visitors to bird feeders and bird tables. Unlike most birds, sparrows have spread successfully around the world and exist almost everywhere humans do. This makes them a friendly face wherever you are in the world.
Sociable birds, sparrows are often in flocks and like to bathe in water baths as well as dust. They’re usually chirping away to their friends and while they mostly live in smallish groups, their flocks can be in the thousands.
Markings: The male sparrow is more distinctive than the female, with a black bib around and under its beak. With a pale beige underside and flecked brown and black wings, sparrows are easy to spot – just drop some crumbs and see who turns up.
Embedded in folklore, superstitions and rhymes, magpies are not also seen as a favourable garden bird although they are very common. Usually residing in mating pairs, magpies are extremely intelligent and highly cunning.
[su_box title=”TRUE FACT!” box_color=”#cb782c” radius=”8″]Magpies are the only animal in the world that can recognise itself in the mirror and isn’t a mammal![/su_box]
Due to their omnivorous nature (they feed on baby birds and eggs as well as seed, berries and insects), as well as their highly strategized hunting abilities, magpies are often seen as bad but actually, they are simply very, very smart and with the right attitude, should be welcomed as guests to the garden. If you have one pair of magpies using your garden, you won’t have any more.
Markings: Magpies are very distinctive and not just because of their intriguing behaviour. They are glossy and bright with metallic blue flashes along their wings and large bright white patches on their sides and undersides while being otherwise black with black beaks. The juveniles are a muted version of this.
Small and loud, wrens are extremely common and are wonderful birds to have on your bird feeder or table. Mottled brown with yellow beaks, wrens are particularly known for their beautiful and complex songs.
Keen on insects and seeds, wrens are common visitors to British gardens and when they build nests, it’s the male who builds them (multiple nests) and the female will choose the one she likes.
Markings: Wrens are dappled brown with yellow beaks and brown legs. While unspectacular to look at compared to members of the tit family, the wonderful songs that erupt from these tiny birds more than makes up for their lack of colour.
Another common garden bird is the chaffinch, a brightly coloured garden bird that can often be seen in hedgerows as well. Resident all year round in Britain, chaffinches have loud and distinctive songs that, once heard, can be picked out easily in woodlands and gardens.
Chaffinches are big seed eaters and will spend a lot of time at bird feeders and bird tables, especially in winter and spring. Pretty and tuneful, chaffinches are much loved in Britain and if you hang up a bird feeder, it won’t be long until you have your own to watch.
Markings: Male chaffinches have rusty coloured faces and undersides with a dusty blue cap and black and white wings. The female is beige and much less distinctive.
#10 Wood pigeon
These lumbering birds can often be seen in gardens, especially if you have a bird table. Because they have a tendency to scare off smaller garden birds and scatter seed around with their ungainly wings, many people prefer to have hanging bird feeders, where the heavy wood pigeon cannot hold onto.
Despite their reputation as pests, with a hanging bird feeder, wood pigeons aren’t a bad addition to the garden and won’t make a nuisance of themselves. Usually seen trundling around lawns looking for worms and insects to eat, they also like to bathe in bird baths.
Markings: Grey with a dusky pink breast, wood pigeons have white patches at the base of their necks and can be heard cooing. They’re quite large and are heavy enough to trigger the weight displacement system on squirrel proof bird feeders– should they have the ability to land on the perch – and as a result will soon discover that they cannot feed from these bird feeders.