How to Attract Birds to Your Garden in 5 Simple Steps

How to Attract Birds to Your Garden in 5 Simple Steps

Ensure your garden is a haven for birds with these five crucial tips.

One of the most wonderful things about having a garden is looking out and seeing all the wildlife that calls it home. Attracting birds to your garden is an easy and enjoyable way to bring a bit of nature into your outdoor space.

In the UK, there are loads of stunning songbirds that visit gardens throughout the country to enjoy the tasty treats on offer there, and they can give you a unique opportunity to see some of the beautiful birds that call our country home. 

Even in cities, there are thousands of birds, and they often enjoy visiting gardens to get delicious natural treats.

If you love birds and want to welcome them to your garden but don’t know how to make your space welcoming for your feathered friends, then keep reading. We’ve listed some simple ways to get birds interested in your garden and keep them coming back day after day. 

#1 Plant Fruit Trees for Birds to Feed On

Having a food source to tempt birds is one of the simplest and most effective ways you can encourage birds to visit your garden. 

While there are thousands of birdseed and man-made food products on the market, many birds enjoy eating fresh fruits and berries and will gravitate towards fruit-bearing vegetation. 

So, a simple way to encourage birds to your garden is to plant fruit trees and berry bushes. Apples, pears and peaches can all grow well on trees in the UK. 

As for berries, everything from strawberries to blackberries grows well in the UK, so you can find a selection of plants to incorporate into your garden.

Not only do fruit trees and berry bushes help you to welcome more birds to your garden, but if there’s anything left over once the birds have had their fill, you’ll be able to enjoy some homegrown tasty treats.  

Fruit Tree Netting from WM James

If you want to keep some fruits for yourself or keep out larger birds and mammals that can be destructive, then you should consider using garden netting from WM James.

We offer a wide range of fruit tree netting and fruit cages to make it easier for you to grow delicious fruits, vegetables and berries without interference from your feathery friends.  

berries to attract birds to a garden

Shop Fruit Netting

#2 Get a Bird Bath

It’s not just food that birds need: they also need access to fresh, clean water. While the term bird bath makes it seem like birds will be washing in the water, many of them will also drink from it. 

Bird baths are great for birds and other wildlife, including amphibians like frogs, rodents such as squirrels and mice and even larger mammals like foxes, who sometimes need a drink. 

If you want to deter other animals from using your bird bath to make it safer for small birds, put it up high. 

Keep the Water Clean and Fresh

It’s easy to forget that water can turn bad and dirty, but it can do so very quickly, especially in an uncovered bird bath outside. 

If left for too long, dirty bird baths can start to grow algae and become hotbeds for water-born illnesses like Legionnaires Disease, which might affect birds but can be harmful to humans. 

So, you should change your bird bath water at least twice a week, and more often in the winter or if the bird bath is being used a lot. 

bird sitting on a birdbath in garden

#3 Use Bird Feeders

As well as natural bird foods that grow on trees and bushes, you should consider setting up bird feeding stations to encourage birds to visit your garden. 

Choose bird feeders that can be hung up high to keep the food away from the ground so that it doesn’t rot or get eaten by pests like rats. 

These bird feeders come in a range of styles to suit your garden and the birds that visit it. There are also some bird feeders with cameras on them, so you can see more of the birds that eat from them. 

What Do Birds Like to Eat?

Every species of bird will eat different things, so you should try hanging feeders with different good quality bird food in them. 

These are some of the most popular foods that common garden birds enjoy so that you can choose a selection for your bird feeders. 

UK Garden Bird Species

Food to Feed Them


Suet, peanuts, seeds, crushed peanuts, raisins 


Seeds, peanuts, mealworms  


Mealworms, suet

Collared Doves

Millet, corn, seeds

House Sparrows

Seeds, peanuts, suet, kitchen scraps

How to Stop Pigeons Eating Bird Food

Pigeons can be incredibly greedy birds, which can also be destructive when using bird feeders and make it hard for smaller birds to get anything to eat. 

Consider using a bird feeder cage to allow smaller birds to eat, but keep out the larger beaks of pigeons. 

Also, pigeons don’t like niger seeds, suet and peanuts, so consider using these foods to dissuade them.

#4 Give the Birds Somewhere to Nest & Hide

Birds are prey to many native and migrating predators, so many, particularly small songbirds, are scared and like to spend time in spaces where they can hide or, potentially, build their nests. 

So, consider making spaces in your garden for birds to nest in. That means using a combination of purpose-made bird boxes and naturally dense foliage to create areas in which birds can feel comfortable. 

Bird boxes and houses can be a cute addition to your garden and encourage birds to nest and spend more time there so you can observe them.

Also, having some areas of dense leaves, such as thick shrubbery or a large leafy tree, can encourage birds to sit and rest for a while away from the elements and the eyes of crafty predators.

predator cat in garden 

#5 Keep Cats Away (If You Can)

Domestic cats are one of the biggest threats to British birds, as they like to kill them and take them home as trophies.

So, if your garden is a hotspot for local cats, then you might find it hard to attract wild birds to visit you. 

While you can’t harm cats to keep them away, there are safe and humane ways you can discourage them from visiting your garden, including: 

  • Put down orange or lemon peels, as cats hate the smell of citrus
  • Create a border using bark chippings, as cats don’t like rough textures
  • Secure your bins so that cats can’t access them to find food
  • Keep bird seed off the ground to discourage birds from eating on the floor where they’re an easy target
  • Consider fragrant plants like lavender and eucalyptus, as cats don’t like the smell of them 

These tips should help you to deter local cats and get them to leave your garden alone, which will help you to encourage more birds and other wildlife.

bird house in garden

The Benefits of Birds in Your Garden

Welcoming wild birds into your garden can be a rewarding and fun experience, but you might be wondering whether it’s worth all this effort. 

Here are some of the many benefits of having birds visit your garden, so you can see why you should start using these tips as soon as possible: 

Some Birds Pollinate Flowers and Plants 

While insects are the most common pollinators in the UK, some birds carry seeds and pollen through their beaks or feathers and can help to bring new wildflowers to your garden and make the local ecosystem more diverse.  

Birds Help to Control Insect Populations

Many small birds eat insects such as worms and beetles. While these creepy crawlies are good for your garden in small doses, they can wreak havoc and damage your plants if there are too many.  

Having birds in your garden will restore the balance and make sure that there aren’t too many insects.  

Provide Natural Entertainment for You and the Kids

Birdwatching can be a fun hobby, as you can tick off all the birds you see and learn more about their habits. 

If you have kids, then they will also enjoy seeing new birds, and you can make a competition out of who can see the most different species.  

You Can Help to Support Conservation Efforts

Birds are a key part of our ecosystem, so welcoming them into your garden and feeding them can help to increase their numbers. It can also help spread flowers around your area and manage the local insect population, so welcoming birds to your garden can be useful and fur. 

bird conservation

The Most Common Garden Birds in the UK

The UK is home to thousands of native birds and many more birds that migrate over for specific seasons. Some of these birds live in certain parts of the country or only come out for a set period of time. 

Still, there are some birds that you’ll probably see more often than others, including: 

  1. Blackbirds
  2. Crows
  3. Robins
  4. House Sparrows 
  5. Wood Pigeons 
  6. Wrens
  7. Jays
  8. Bullfinches 
  9. Starlings 
  10. Collared Doves  

These are just 10 of the most common birds that visit gardens in the UK: if you put out feeders and create a safe space for birds, you’ll soon see the most prevalent species in your area and, potentially, get lucky and spot a rare find. 

Why Birds Might Not Be Coming to Your Garden

There are many reasons why birds might not be coming to your garden, and while these tips can help mitigate them, there’s no guarantee.

Predominantly, the main reason local garden birds might not be coming to your garden is that they’re able to find food elsewhere and don’t need to fly around and find sources of nourishment. 

Also, a predator could have moved into the area, such as a bird of prey or a cat. If that happens, they could scare away smaller garden birds that are vulnerable. 

bird predator

Final Thoughts: How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

If you’ve always wondered how to attract birds to garden but have never had any success, then these tips should help.  

With a little perseverance, you’ll be able to welcome some of the UK’s most beautiful feathered friends. 

While birds can be a stunning addition to your garden, they can also be incredibly destructive, especially if you’re growing fruit and other tasty plants. 

For gardeners who love birds and their plants equally, use bird netting to ensure that your foliage is safe from prying beaks and that you can still welcome birds into your space. 

Enjoy your bird watching!


How Can I Attract Birds to My Garden Fast?

The fastest way to get birds to visit your garden is to offer them something tasty to eat, so try planting fruit trees and putting out seeds. You should also offer fresh water to make birds feel more welcome and give them something to drink.

What attracts Birds the Most?

Food is a major motivator for wild birds, so consider putting out a bird feeder in a quiet, safe corner of the garden to encourage birds to visit and feed. Every species of bird has different tastes, so consider using a selection of feeders to attract a range of different avian friends to your garden.

Why are Birds Not Coming to My Garden?

In some cases, birds might not be coming to your garden because there is an abundance of seed and food elsewhere. If this food is closer to their nests, then local birds might not need to travel far and explore gardens to find something to eat.

What Time of Day Are Garden Birds Most Active?

Garden birds tend to need food early in the morning, often between 7 am and 11 am, then again in the late afternoon, between 5 pm and 8 pm, while it’s still light outside. Throughout the year, the birds might visit at different times, but if you watch them, you’ll soon get an idea of their routine.