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A blue tit enjoying nuts from a feeder
Do your bit for birds
The RSPB provides some helpful tips on how to attract birds into your garden, and what to do to make sure they want to stay.
Just because the winter is over, it doesn't mean we should simply leave our feathered friends to 'fly solo' without a helping hand.
Surviving the cold winter months is of course the biggest challenge for our garden birds, but they can still struggle during spring and summer as well.
The RSPB says that continuing to feed garden birds during the spring and summer increases their chances of survival - especially when there is a natural food shortage.
High protein foods are particularly important at this time.
Black sunflower seeds, pinhead oatmeal, soaked sultanas, raisins and currants, mild grated cheese, mealworms, waxworms, mixes for insectivorous birds, good seed mixtures without loose peanuts, RSPB food bars and summer seed mixture can all be used.
Soft apples and pears cut in half, bananas and grapes are also good.
Tony Whitehead of the RSPB has another good tip: "Crushed egg shells contain huge amounts of calcium, which is great for healthy bones.
"It is also important for female birds in the pre-egg laying stage, helping develop strong eggs that aren't too brittle and weak.
Food and water can tempt birds like robins
"Pop the egg shells in the oven for 20 minutes or so - this makes them nice and brittle and also removes any bugs which might be there.
"Then crush them and put them out on the bird feeder. You should crush food up for the birds at this time, so the chicks don't choke on it in the nest."
The way we maintain our gardens can also help: "Nectar-rich plants attract insects which birds can feed on," said Tony.
"And water is also essential, for drinking and for feather care."
Nest boxes need to be in place by around February to help breeding birds. But there are other ways you can help nesting birds.
Dog and horse owners can brush their pets and put the hair in garden for birds to use as weave for their nests!
You can visit the RSPB's website for more tips on how to help birds - see the link on this page.
last updated: 29/04/2008 at 18:37