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The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH


Different species of birds have different nutritional needs – how to feed the variety in your garden

The University of Exeter and the British Trust Ornithology (BTO) recently released some research looking at the feeding habits of wild birds

The University of Exeter and the British Trust Ornithology (BTO) recently released some research looking at the feeding habits of wild birds. The research found that larger species such as house sparrows and greenfinches monopolised the best food and spent longer feeding than smaller birds. With 43% [1] of UK households feeding the birds, research in this area is important as it highlights that we need to consider not only what we feed but also how we provide this food.

To ensure that all the birds in the garden benefit, the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) provides the following advice:

* Different species of birds have different requirements. Some species are ground feeders (e.g. Robin and Dunnock) while others prefer to feed from hanging feeders (e.g. Blue Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker). There is a wide range of products in the market suitable for hanging feeders, bird tables and ground feeding. Depending on what products you buy for your garden, you will attract certain types of birds.

* If you have a variety of different bird species visiting, the ideal solution is to provide a variety of feeders and food.

* In an ideal situation, you should manage your garden to provide a source of natural foods, through lawns, shrubs and flowerbeds as well as providing supplementary food in bird feeders. This way your garden will be visited by a range of different birds all year round.

Although many birds in nature can find their own food, research shows that providing supplementary food can make a difference in their lives. Some birds may not be able to survive the natural shortage of food during which can occur any time of the year. For more advice on feeding the wild birds including hygiene tips, what not to feed and the needs over the different seasons, please visit:


The PFMA is the representative body for the UK pet food industry. Within the PFMA there are dedicated sector groups providing expertise in their areas, this includes a group focused on pet and wild bird nutrition. For more information about the PFMA, please visit

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