Bird feeding without problems

Feeding birds in gardens is widespread and is valuable in conserving garden bird numbers, particularly in the winter months. It also gives pleasure to many to see birds feeding in their garden.

The RSPB recommend that fresh water and shelter are necessary in the winter to help birds. Please see their website for the best and most detailed advice.

What’s the problem?

The numbers of rats and mice in built up areas is on the increase. Unsuitable or excessive bird feeding methods contribute to this rise. Excessive or careless bird feeding can also cause noise and fouling problems for neighbours, particularly where larger birds such as pigeons, crows, magpies or seagulls are attracted. The larger birds will sometimes discourage the smaller birds from feeding. Most people would be horrified to think they were attracting rats and mice to their gardens or causing problems for neighbours.

Good Practice

If you feed birds in your garden please follow these guidelines:

  • Do not scatter food on the ground where it is an easy source of food for rodents
  • Bird tables are often easily accessible to rodents. Do not overstock them or provide large quantities or unsuitable foods.
  • Use proprietary bird feeders with a catch tray to reduce debris falling on the ground.
  • Feeders should be sited with care. Suspending them from a metal wire is the only way to be certain rodents will not get into them.
  • Ideally, place small quantities in feeders daily to ensure they are emptied daily.
  • Do not use your garden as a dump for unwanted food waste, the birds may not want it either but rats and mice probably will.

If you want to give the birds a real treat and cut down the chance of a blocked drain, save any solid fat from cooking and fill up a yoghurt tub or similar. This can then be tipped out and hung up outside for the birds to enjoy.

Seagulls and Pigeons

If you are experiencing a problem with birds on your property whether it is the mess they leave or the noise they make, you should seek professional advice from a company specializing in bird control.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 protects all wild birds. It is an offence to kill or injure any birds or their nests or eggs unless acting under a licence and only in compliance with the conditions of that licence. A general licence allows 'authorised persons' to undertake certain actions which would otherwise be illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but only to certain birds in certain circumstances.

Noise from birds, that they leave droppings or the fact that they open rubbish bags are NOT reasons under the Act. Killing or injuring birds for these reasons is an offence and offenders can be prosecuted.

Last updated: 21 August 2023