Bird tables can make an attractive and interesting addition to even the smallest of gardens. Here are some tips on how to get the best out of them.
When should a bird table be used?
Bird tables are usually left in position all year round, but feeding birds is most important during the winter months, as that is when birds need it most and natural food is scarcest.
Although unnatural foods are not good for nestlings, adult birds are usually careful about what they give their chicks, and can use the food to give themselves additional energy to feed their young.
Where should it be?
Ideally you should position your bird table in a reasonably open area, either fixed to the top of a post, or hanging from a branch or bracket. This will make it easier for you to observe and will also reduce the risk of cats or other predators sneaking up on the feeding birds.
Don’t put your table within easy reach of a fence or tree from which a cat can leap, but place it near a bush which gives birds somewhere to ‘queue up’ for a place on the table, or to dash if disturbed.
By the way, a garden is not essential - a feeding tray may even attract birds to a windowsill on a block of flats!
Should there be a roof?
A table with a roof gives extra places for seed feeders or nut bags, but an open one is really just as good.