Plants or Shrubs to Feed Birds

Hi everyone

My mum recently moved into a new property and for the first time in her life has a ton of birds in the garden which she was getting a lot of pleasure from.  Unfortunately we've now also got unwelcome visitors - the dreaded rat! It was out in the day munching on the seed spat out as well so must have been there for some time getting more confident.  As she is a disabled pensioner we've had to remove the feeders straight away as she's not mobile enough to be bringing them in and sweeping the area every night.  As you can imagine she's pretty sad about this.  But with being by a canal and a river (!!) we just can't risk being inundated with them.  

The garden is a work in progress we are working on for her so I was thinking of planting things that the birds could eat without attracting the pests.  So far I've got:



Can anyone else add anything to this list?  The robin seems to appear every time I'm digging anything over so I think he will be OK :-) 

Also, do you think I need to set a trap out or will it move on with the food gone?  I really don't want to use poison as I've heard owls round here and the neighbours have pets etc which I know is what pest control would do if I brought them in.  

It's strange actually we've had months without any problems and within a few days all the ones you don't want seemed to arrive together - rat, pigeons and a huge flock of jackdaws.  They were a pain but so intelligent - they actually teamed up two at a time to shove the caged feeder so it dropped the seed out!  And they've already moved on and it's only been a day or so since I took down the feeders.  They do a fly past and don't even bother stopping.  And I'm sure they'd be back within 10 minutes if I put it back up!  How do they know?!!

  • An annual deep mulch with composted stuff over any borders with plants will help keep the soil nearer to the surface moist. This will encourage the worms to not retreat into the depths when things get drier, feed the worms and the plants, and also be a substrate that other invertebrates (spiders, ground beettles, etc.) will colonise. And suppress 'weed' seed germination. Blackbirds (and the like) will likely flick the mulch hither and thither, and here, there and everywhere whilst hunting for worms and other invertebrates..

    Berry-bearing shrubs/trees (like holly and rowan, as you've already identified) provide autumn/winter food sources.

    Summer fruiting stuff like raspberry, currant and strawberry plants can be grown and the fruit left for the birds to consume if so desired/planned.

    Space permitting, a stack of felled wood provides other habitat for inverts (and fungi). Oak, beech, willow, birch logs provide a cross-section of habitats and food sources for (some) beetle larvae. This can take more than a couple of years (I'd say about a 4-5 years) but eventually you may get woodpeckers working on the logs to get to the larvae which have been munching through the deadwood.

    Just some further ideas.

  • there's also Sunflowers. sunflowers produce sunflower seeds when they are ready and Birds can be  attracted to the seeds on the sunflower.Teasel is a favourite of the Goldfinch cause they like the seeds in the teasel. those are a few suggestions on plants that can produce food for birds.  you can also plant other  Wildflowers aswell cause they attract insects to the garden which insect eating birds will benefit from.