New Data Highlights That 58% Of UK Households Feed Wild Birds
A new survey by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) has highlighted that almost six in ten households in the UK are feeding wild birds suggesting that we are appreciating wildlife and connecting more with nature after two years of restrictions. (i)
In 2022, of those with outdoor space, 58% feed the birds with this becoming more common with age, peaking at 71% for those aged 65-74. Pet owners (even cat owners!) are slightly more likely to feed wild birds than non pet owners with this figure at 62%, rising to 72% among those who own an indoor bird. Households without children are more likely to feed the birds (59%) than households with children (55%).
Nicole Paley, Deputy Chief Executive of the PFMA comments: “We are delighted to see that well over a half of the UK are feeding the birds and as a result benefitting from the pleasure of watching and supporting wildlife in the garden. Bird feeding has traditionally been a hobby for older generations but our survey highlighted that 43% of 16-24 year olds and 50% of 25-34 year olds feed the birds, which is wonderful.”
Over three quarters (78%) explained that enjoyment was the main reason for feeding the birds and just over half (54%) claimed a general desire to support local wildlife. Luckily almost half (48%) were aware of the need to supplement a bird’s diet in the winter.
Nicole continues: “Over the last couple of years, restrictions have impacted on the social lives of the young as well as the old. All age groups have looked for companionship in different ways. Connecting with nature can bring a sense of belonging and stability through routine. With the mental health repercussions of recent global events, we would like to encourage everyone – the young, the old and those with young families – to benefit from feeding the birds in the garden.
Richard Johnston of Johnston & Jeff and Chair of the PFMA Bird Group commented: “PFMA data also confirms that most people (56%) feed the birds in the Winter. However, during Spring and Summer this figure falls to 47% and 41% respectively. We want to raise awareness of the little known period in Spring which is called the ‘Feeding Gap’. This is when natural food supplies are depleted following the winter. It is also a busy time for the bird population who are feeding to satisfy the demands of their young. Supplementing their feed at this time can be particularly beneficial.”
The PFMA has many resources for those who enjoy feeding the birds. Visit Feeding Wild Birds: What To Feed & What Not To Feed | UK Pet Food | UK Pet Foodfor top tips.
(i) Survey conducted by Kantar / Soulor Consulting, January 2022 online. This year a representative sample of 2,560 UK households responded to questions about feeding wild birds.