If you want to attract a wide variety of birds to your garden, it is important to offer a good selection of wild bird food, but it is not necessary to spend lots of money on specialist seed mixes that you may not need! However, avoid prepared food that contains cheap fillers, such as whole oats which have little nutritional value, or seed that is high in cereals, as this will mainly attract pigeons. Here are some tips and advice on what best to feed wild birds.
If you have not fed the birds that visit your garden before, we would suggest you start with a few Fat Balls, Black Sunflower Seed or Sunflower Hearts and Peanuts which can be used in feeders, on bird tables or on the ground and in a variety of places in your garden. Include a few peaceful areas for timid wild birds and to encourage colourful songbirds into your garden.
Sunflower Hearts are basically a bird’s equivalent to fast food, as the black outer shell has already been removed, and so leaving only the nutritious hearts. Unlike many prepared supermarket meals, these are a healthy option that is convenient for all wild bird species, as many smaller birds simply can’t remove the tough outer shell of a sunflower.
By placing these foods around your garden you should attract a wide variety of bird species commonly found in the majority of gardens in the UK. As you gain confidence you can add some specialist seeds, such as Niger Seed and Hemp or even Dried Mealworms. This variety will increase and broaden your garden’s appeal to a larger selection of bird species, including Woodpeckers, Buntings and Nuthatches.
It is recommended that if you feed whole peanuts to your garden visitors, it’s important that they are fed from a wire mesh feeder. This is because smaller birds and fledglings can choke on the valuable food source.
Many of the premium wild bird food varieties use peanut granules instead of whole peanuts, as the bite-sized pieces are easy to digest and appeal to a larger variety of wild birds.
We suggest you place the food out at the beginning of each day to allow birds to replace the energy lost overnight and then top it up mid afternoon if necessary, to ensure your garden attracts as many birds as possible!
It is advisable to have multiple bird feeding sites within the garden to prevent overcrowding. Another good idea is to move wild bird feeders around regularly to prevent a build up of droppings. These can spread disease and bacteria. Finally, clean feeders at least once a month.
Lastly, remember that once you have started to feed the wild birds, it’s important to continue to feed them, as unfortunately they will become reliant on your help to survive and raise young fledglings.