Buying bird food for the first time can be daunting with so many types available. We’ve put together an easy-to-use guide to ensure you know what bird food to buy for garden birds in terms of season and species.
Why Feed Garden Birds?
Providing food for garden birds can attract a variety of beautiful and colourful species to your garden that will be sure to fascinate adults and children alike. It also helps out birds by supplementing their diet. This is especially important in the colder winter months when natural food can be scarce.
Ready To Use Feeders & Kits
Bird Seed Mixes
A variety of bird seed mixes are available for ground feeders, bird tables and hanging feeders. They are an important food supply for many birds such as blue tits, robins and greenfinches, depending on which mix you choose. It is best to buy high quality bird seed mix, that do not contain fillers such as lentils and rice. Only a small group of species can eat these dry, so investing in quality, such as brand Red Barn, will attract a wider range of birds to your garden.
Peanuts are a great source of protein and unsaturated fat for birds. Leaving peanuts out for the birds will bring in a variety of new species to your garden including jays, house finches, chickadees and woodpeckers. Smaller birds like robins struggle to eat peanuts and prefer for them to be ground or grated up. Donut feeders are suitable for peanuts, or alternatively go for a squirrel-proof feeder as our furry friends also enjoy peanuts and may scare birds off.
Sunflower Seeds & Hearts
Sunflower seeds, both in and out of their shells, deserve one of the top spots for bird seed to feed garden birds. Many species are attracted to eating sunflower seeds making them a very versatile bird seed. Leaving out sunflower seeds will attract species such as nuthatches, cardinals and grosbeaks. Sunflower seed hearts are also a good choice if you’re looking for a no mess bird seed. Sunflower seeds are suitable for use in most garden bird seed feeders.
Nyjer seeds are an excellent energy source for garden birds and are favoured by finches. They are an oily seed as they are rich in oil content. Note that once the seeds have dried up garden birds won’t eat them. Ensure you buy the correct quantity that you will use to prevent waste. As nyjer seeds are so small it is a good idea to buy a feeder specifically designed to hold them.
Offering mealworms to your garden birds will attract a wide variety of wild bird species. They are a great source of protein for garden birds and attract insect-eating birds such as bluebirds, sparrows and wrens.
Suet treats are packed full of fat and are an excellent food to provide for garden birds in the winter, but are also suitable for all year round feeding. Many contain essential energy and fats provided by ingredients such as lard, suet and nuts. Suet can come in pellets, in blocks, in coconut shells or formed into fat balls. Each is suitable for a different type of feeder. Pellets are suitable for use in feeders and blocks are great for placing on bird tables or in ground feeders. Fat balls are suitable for use in fat ball feeders and coconut shell feeders come ready to hang up. Be sure to remove the mesh bag that fat balls come in before putting them out in your garden for birds to feast on.
Overall, feeding garden birds can be a really rewarding experience. With so many types of food available, you’ll never know what exotic species could be flying into your garden for a treat or two.
Megan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.