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There are many different types of bird feeders available – some you can buy and some you can make yourself. Different feeders will attract different species of birds so put out a variety if you can.

Bird Feeder

A mesh feeder will attract tits and nuthatches and if you're lucky a spotted woodpecker. They can be filled with whole peanuts and the birds will happily peck away at them, although avoid them in breeding season when baby birds can choke on the nuts. You could make a mesh feeder out of an old vegetable bag but don’t use a nylon bag as birds can get caught in them.

Seed feeders have smaller holes than mesh feeders and usually have perches on them or you can make a simple version out of an old plastic bottle. Fill with niger seed to attract goldfinches.

You can also buy seed trays; open containers that can be put out on their own or placed underneath a feeder to stop seed falling on the ground and encouraging rats.

A fat feeder is very easy to make yourself and will attract tits. Fat feeders are especially good in winter when birds need plenty of energy. Blend the fat with seeds, crumbs, raisins and bits of bacon. You can also buy ready made fat balls and special holders.

A halved drained coconut from a branch will attract many birds. You could also spread the coconut with some lard and sprinkle on seeds for an extra treat.

Pine cones dipped in fat or peanut butter, a piece of dry toast spread with lard or even an apple are all other ideas for bird feeders you can make at home.

Many birds prefer to eat at ground level and you can buy special caged ground feeders so only small birds can get at the food, keeping larger birds such as magpies and predators such as squirrels away. Whichever type of bird feeder you choose ensure it is placed in a spot away from bushes where cats could stage an ambush from and somewhere quiet where the birds can feed in peace.

Remove old food to prevent the spread of disease and clean up any fallen food and droppings to prevent rats.

You will sometimes have to wait a few weeks for birds to start coming to your feeders regularly as they get used to them but once they start visiting you will get great pleasure from them and you will also know that you are doing something to help the UK's birds whose natural food sources are in decline.

Take a look at this selection of bird feeders available to buy online.

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