RSPB
Skip navigation
Print page

Feeding birds

Male great spotted woodpecker at suet feeder

Image: Nigel Blake

What food can you leave out for birds and how can you keep your feeding station hygenic and pest-free? Here you'll find the answers to all your bird feeding questions.

Feeding birds in the garden is a popular activity - over half of adults in the UK feed birds in their garden. That's a lot of extra help for the birds!

Providing birds with supplementary food will bring them closer for you to marvel at their fascinating behaviour and wonderful colours. It will also reward them for sharing their lives with you. Feeding birds is also an ideal way to enthuse children about wildlife.

Supplementary feeding can't provide all the natural proteins and vitamins that adult and young birds need, so it's important to create and manage your garden to provide a source of natural foods as well, through well-managed lawns, shrub and flowerbeds.

If you provide both natural and supplementary food, your garden will be visited year-round by a host of different birds. You can take part in our Homes for Wildlife scheme and we'll give you all the advice you need, especially tailored to your garden, to make your garden into a wildlife haven.

It is important to feed your garden birds responsibly and safely. By following a few simple guidelines, you can play a valuable role in helping your local birds overcome periods of natural food shortage, survive periods of severe winter weather and come into good breeding condition in the spring.

What food to provide

We receive numerous enquiries about what and how to feed garden birds. Many of them relate to the best type of food to provide, or whether particular foods are suitable for birds or not. This page shows you what to feed your garden birds - and what to avoid. More...

What food to provide

All about bird tables

Everything you need to know about buying or building a bird table and making it attractive to birds. More...

All about bird tables

How to feed birds

There are all kinds of ways to feed birds, from bird tables and hanging feeders to devices you can make yourself. More...

How to feed birds

When to feed wild birds

Although winter feeding benefits birds most, food shortages can occur at any time of the year. By feeding year round, you'll give birds a better chance to survive periods of food shortage, whenever they may occur. More...

When to feed wild birds

What birds to expect

The most likely visitors are starlings, house sparrows, blackbirds, blue and great tits, robins, greenfinches and collared doves. More...

What birds to expect

Hygiene - vital precautions

When a large number of birds are attracted into an area to feed, the danger of disease increases. Advice on how to keep your garden birds - and yourself - safe. More...

Hygiene - vital precautions

How you can help

We stock a large range of safe, high-quality bird food that will attract a wide variety of birds to your garden.

Order bird food from our online shop