What to feed your garden birds?
This is a question thats often asked and there is a wide range of ready prepared Wild bird seed mixes on the market that will meet the feeding needs of your garden birds. These mixes can be for birds that prefer to feed from feeders, or for a bird table or on the ground. Each one is made up with a variety of seeds that help to attract the wide range of bird species into your garden.
Some mixes are especially formulated to include smaller seeds & grain in them which tend to encourage the smaller bird varieties such as dunnocks, tits, sparrows & finches into the garden. These mixes are well received when fed from a seed feeder. Feeding from a feeder often gives the birds a better sense of security as they are out of reach from cats, these birds are better adapted to hanging from a feeder than some of the larger bird species. Try our Premium wild bird seed which is a popular mixture of small seeds to attract those smaller bird species.
Other of our mixes are formulated to include slightly larger seeds & grains which are better suited to the larger birds such as the blackbird, thrushes, doves and fieldfare. These are best fed from the ground or a bird table.
If you want to feed a bird mix that has naturally less waste and mess then we recommend one that contains more sunflower hearts. These mixes are well received by all bird species, can be fed from a seed feeder, a table or the ground and contain more sunflower hearts than black or striped sunflowers, However having sunflower in a mix where the birds have to open the husk is often better for those watching. Try a mix with both as there is less waste and mess in your garden from the sunflower husks but still something for the birds to open.
Robins are particularly partial to insects so treat them to a specialist Robin and Tit Insect mix to give them that added extra delicacy in their diet. These types of mixes are also popular with other smaller bird species.
Blackbirds & Thrushes will have a go at eating most things but will be drawn towards mixes which contain suet a particular favourite of theirs and a great source of energy, along with rowan berries, sunflower hearts, peanut granules & apple.
You can also buy dried mealworms on their own to add to your other birds seed mixes as a treat. Ask you pet shop or garden centre.
Once you have established which ingredient in the prepared mixes are best received by the bird species in your garden why not buy the plain seeds and make your own ‘special diet mix’.
Sunflower hearts are a particular favourite offering birds a ready prepared meal with no husks to remove, the smaller garden visitors are attracted to these. These will be eaten by all birds but especially birds from the Finch family, Robins, Dunnocks and Tits.
Black Sunflowers a firm favourite and popular seed with all birds with its softer outer husk they are easier to shell for the smaller birds.
Safflower seeds - these are extremely popular with a wide variety of garden birds and make a change from black sunflowers and sunflower hearts. Some people maintain that Safflower seeds are hated by squirrels as they dislike the taste. Therefore if you are experiencing problems with the squirrels stealing the bird food in your garden, it might be an idea to try Safflower seeds as an alternative in order to deter them. Of course the first thing you should try is keeping to the food your birds love and are used too but dispense them from a squirrel proof feeder.
Nijer seed (Sometimes called thistle seed) is also a delicacy that should be fed from a special purpose Nyger feeder. Goldfinches are attracted by this seed along with other birds from the Finch family.
Peanuts – these are a firm favourite with all garden birds and can be purchased whole, already granulated, or from their shells. Peanuts are rich in fat and a high energy food popular with most birds. Peanuts should only be fed whole from a suitable feeder during the spring and summer to ensure the young fledgling don’t choke on the whole peanuts as they learn to feed.
Whole peanuts can be fed during Autumn & Winter from the table or the ground as well as a suitable feeder.
Peanut granules are particularly popular with robins, wrens & dunnocks.
Peanuts in shells can be threaded onto string to supply a natural hanging feeder for those small birds in your garden – fed in this way bird have to linger longer while they master the art of pecking through the shells to get to their food.
Suet teats - Fat balls and Suet blocks are rich in fat and protein an excellent food especially in the winter months.
They can be fed from a suitable feeder or from the table. They are available with a selection of different ingredients added to temp your garden birds.
Why not try a ready to hang half coconut shell filled with hi energy suet & seeds.
As well as the seed mixes feed in other items will also help
Soaked bread (white or brown) – dry bread can swell in the stomach.
Leftovers, e.g. cake, cooked rice etc. are fine, but no spicy or salty foods, or "gone off" foods.
Apples, cut in half and put on a bird table or the ground are excellent for blackbirds and robins.