Choosing Your Bird Foods
We aim to help you select the right choice for you and your garden visitors. Different species like different foods so, as a rule of thumb, the more varieties of food you put out the greater the number of species you will attract. Did you know, for example, that Robins love mealworms, Goldfinches adore Nyjer Seed and Blue Tits have a passion for Sunflower Hearts?
The common garden birds can be divided into 3 groups: seed eaters, insect eaters and birds that eat both! Seed eaters such as sparrows and finches love food that consists of sunflower seeds, corn, oats and kibbled peanuts. An insect eater like a Robin will prefer food containing mealworms or dried fruits. Tits are part of the group of birds who will eat both seeds and insects.
You first need to decide what type of feeder or feeders you want to use in your garden. This can depend on many factors including space and budget. Check out our guide on choosing a bird feeder to help. However you chose to feed, avoid purchasing any bird food in plastic netting as this can be hazardous to birds, and if your food does arrive in nets, please remove this before putting into your garden.
Then decide which birds you would like to feed in your garden, this who eats what and when chart will help:
Once you have decided which food you would like to offer in your garden, select a high-quality food which offers value for money. Cheap bird foods will often include bulky fillers to increase the weight but offer no nutritional benefit to your birds. Quite often these excess ingredients end up being discarded at the feeders as they are of no interest or benefit to the birds, resulting in a portion of the food you have purchased going to waste and potentially creating unnecessary mess.
Always check the ingredients and select foods with a high proportion of suet, fat, sunflower hearts, or peanuts which contain the greatest sources of energy. Where published, also try and select foods with a high calorie and fat content level as the more calories the better for garden birds! All of our foods use high-quality ingredients and we mark the calorie content in order to help you.
Birds have a very energetic lifestyle and need lots of calories each day just to survive. By offering high-energy food we can help them through difficult times such as when they are nest building or feeding their young. Sunflower hearts and peanuts have a high energy value and only those of the highest quality contain the most calories. These ingredients are not only found in seed mixes but also in fat products such as peanut cakes, fat blocks and our Peanut Butter for Birds. All products that birds love!
Fats and proteins are the most important foods for birds. In the spring and summer, they need more calcium and extra protein for laying and hatching of eggs and later the raising of their young. In the autumn and winter your garden birds need to build up their fat reserves to be sure they can survive the coldest nights of winter.
Peanut cakes, fat balls and other suet-based foods will appeal to almost all garden birds and will help you attract an enviable number of species onto your patch. They are also versatile foods and can be fed from specialist feeders, placed on bird tables or rubbed into tree trunks and branches.
Live foods, such as mealworms, contain a lot of protein. Whether you feed live mealworms or the dried variety, birds will love them. They are especially welcomed during the breeding season when the population booms with new chicks and fledglings and competition at feeders reaches its peak. Offering mealworms near to a nest will help busy parent birds keep up the feeding routine throughout the nesting season.
If you want to avoid waste and weeds around your feeders, look for foods called no mess, such as our Hi-Energy No Mess Seed Mix. These foods include seeds which have had their husks removed or the seeds chopped. These chemical free processes have numerous benefits; removing the husks before we send you the seeds means they will not be discarded around your feeders, and should any seeds fall from the feeder, they will not germinate. It also saves valuable time and energy for your birds who would otherwise have to remove these themselves before eating the precious seed inside.
Whatever foods and feeders you decide to offer, please remember that your garden birds will benefit from nutritious, supplementary foods from your feeders all year round. This ensures that when there is a shortage of natural food, a sudden spell of bad weather or an increase in demand makes feeding more of a challenge, they will instinctively know that your garden is a place where they can stop by for a much needed meal.