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Feeding Wild Birds

Do Children Regularly Feed Wild Birds?

Feeding Wild Birds - Schoolchild Survey - Graph from Education Quizzes

Wild birds need all the help they can get, especially at this time of year when food is scarce and temperatures plummet. We can all do our bit to help by feeding them, but how many of us do? For this week’s survey we decided to find out.

We asked 5,031 children the following question: “Do you and your family regularly feed wild birds?” This is rather a broad statement. “Regularly” could mean once a week but it gives us a general idea of how many families in Britain do feed wild birds.

Here are the results:

  • Yes – 33%
  • No – 66%

So, approximately one third of households regularly feed wild birds. As a nation which considers itself to be made up of animal lovers, that is disappointing.

How Does Feeding Wild Birds Help Them?

You may be thinking “Why should I feed the birds? It makes no difference.” Well, the truth is that feeding wild birds helps both them and you. Here’s a list of just a few ways that feeding birds is a good idea…

  • Feeding birds saves lives. Birds in gardens with feeders have their survival rate increased by almost 40%
  • More baby birds. Three times as many young are raised in gardens which include feeders
  • Better health. Birds in gardens with feeders are larger, less stressed and generally healthier than birds who are not fed
  • More birds. If you like to see birds in your garden then feed them! Studies show that gardens which have feeders attract more than twice as many birds as those without

What Should I Feed Wild Birds?

Hopefully you are now convinced that feeding wild birds is a good idea. If so the next question to ask is what to give them. There are a few options:

  • Millet. This will attract small birds like sparrows and finches
  • Maize is a favourite of blackbirds
  • Peanuts generally go down well with most birds
  • Sunflower seeds are also welcome
  • Wheat is liked by larger birds such as pigeons
  • Kitchen scraps can also be fed, especially stale bread or cake

What should I Not Feed to Wild Birds?

So now you know what birds like to eat, but what should you NOT feed them? Here’s a list of foods to avoid…

  • Cheap bird food. Inexpensive bird food is cheap because it is poor quality. To increase the weight non-nutritious things like seed husks or dog biscuits are added
  • Cooking fat. Some fats are good for birds. Balls of suet for example are gratefully received. But old cooking fat is not. It can even be toxic
  • Milk. You may be tempted to put a saucer of milk out for the birds. Sadly they cannot digest this and it could make them ill
  • Salt. Salty foods, like bacon or pork, can be toxic to birds

These lists are in no way comprehensive. There are many things you can feed to birds, and many which you should not. For better advice visit the RSPB website.

Another thing you may be interested in is a nest box to encourage birds into your garden. This article is full of ideas.

EXPLORE THE WORLD OF CHILDREN’S SURVEYS

Full Results of our "Feeding Wild Birds” Survey

Here are the results from the 5,031 children who answered our question "Do you and your family regularly feed wild birds?". The survey was conducted in the week ending 7th February 2021.

Do you and your family regularly feed wild birds? Percentage of Respondents
No 66%
Yes 33%

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