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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Bird-feeding tips for a beginner + how to attract more birds? (1 Viewer)


Hey everyone! I'm from London, UK and new here, and would like some general advice on bird feeding!

I put up my first bird feeder a week ago, and recently purchased a smaller Nyjer (or niger?) seed feeder which will arrive in 1-2 weeks in the hopes of attracting finches, especially goldfinches. I've not seen one around here before - what are the chances of them appearing at this time of the year?

I'm also currently putting out bird seed mix that's been popular amongst robins and great tits, and also soaked dried mealworms every morning which the magpies are going crazy for. However, I've not seen any blue tits and was wondering what would attract them? As a beginner I don't want to splurge on more things like suet and fat balls just yet!

I also have a water bowl attached to the pole where the feeders hang, but every time the magpies land on the mesh feeder to eat the worms and fly off, they shake the pole and spill half of the water! Is there anything better I can do to prevent this as I do not want to put it lower down on the pole where it's steadier lest squirrels use it as a 'stepping stone' to get to the food?

Any additional advice would be welcome, especially on attracting colourful and rarer species in a busy London subarb! I'm also keen on learning more about nesting habits of common UK birds and what I should be doing and feeding the birds around nesting season! :king:


New member
United Kingdom
Hi I’m also in London... water bowls can be placed on the ground....blue tits are rare these days. As I also don’t see many at the moment. The robins and thrushes are around.....if you have a tree or large shrub then birds seem to like the safety of trees and I find they flock to the shrubs much more than when I had a pole. If the pole is out in the open the birds can feel less safe....I’ve never seen a goldfinch even though we are near Hampstead Heath.... good luck and keep trying, birds will come.


Well-known member
I use a 22" x 1" deep clay plant pot tray set on the groundand fill it with water. Everything from small juncos to red shouldered hawks make use of it during the entire year. I have many squirrels and so a conventional bird bath would quickly get knocked over. No problems at all with the clay tray. It is heavy enough that even when the water level is low it does not get blown about by the wind.

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
United States
I've loaded all my feeders on the bottom branch of my trees. To me, this gives the smaller song bird a chance to go undercover in the above trees when BOPs arrive.

Carpathian Ed

Well-known member
Hi Lee. If you're going for tits then put out crumbs rather than seeds. We're currently plagued by Great Tits and Blue Tits. Poor Robin has to fight his way to the food.


Well-known member
I too have a garden saucer (24" diameter) on the ground; the birds seem to prefer it there as opposed to on a stand. Regarding food, I'd suggest you also offer sunflower seeds; very many birds, including goldfinches (European and American) love it.

If you do put sunflower seeds out, keep in mind that all parts of the sunflower plant - including the seeds - are toxic to other plants (but not to humans or wildlife). The simplest way to deal with that is to use shelled seeds, often called hearts or kernels. Any seeds that land on the ground will be eaten by ground feeders, with no shells left behind.


Well-known member
United States
I wouldn't suggest putting out crumbs. Bread isn't very good for the birds- it has little nutrition compared to seeds.

Give it some time. Birds need to learn that the feeder is there. Once they do, they should show up regularly.

You can put the water in a heavy bowl on the ground. Squirrels won't take all of it like they will with seed.

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
I wouldn’t put bread out for birds in london and make sure tables are clean/cleared at the end of the day - There are a lot of rats in London, you don’t want them in the garden!

I would use peanuts for the tits although they do like fatballs as do Starlings and House Sparrows.

As others have said, sunflower hearts will attract Goldfinches, Greenfinch and Chaffinch.

Blackbirds love fresh apples - I put two halves out each day.


New member
Hi there, I find in Scotland that the Goldfinches here absolutely love Sunflower hearts but will also eat a little some Nyjer at seed but only on occasionally, they much prefer the Sunflower Hearts!! Give them a try and if you have Goldfinches in London they will not refuse your sunflower hearts but other birds also drive Goldfinches out Iv noticed but good luck!!
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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