Choosing Bird Food - Top Tips

Peter McNish

When it comes to choosing your wild bird food, you’ll quickly discover there are plenty of options. This article will help you understand what type of wild bird seed your garden birds will enjoy, and what will keep them returning back for more!

Choosing your bird food

What type of bird food you offer to your garden birds can be affected by factors such as the climate and the seasons. For instance, during the breeding season, when birds need to feed the young chicks, foods high in protein such as wax worms and live mealworms will be of a great benefit for the young offspring.


Adult birds will feed their young before themselves. This means that if live food is in short supply, the adults will turn towards what ever seeds are available. Stocking up your bird feed inventory with sunflower hearts in particular are a great choice for a situation like this.They contain high a level of oil and offer an immediate impact of energy. Sunflower hearts will not require de - husking which means the birds can take on more calories in a shorter time.  


Feeding Birds in the Winter


During the freezing cold winter weather, small birds like long tailed tits and blue tits spend over 75% of their daytime eating to just survive. The best thing you can do to help them thrive in these harsh conditions is to provide high-quality fat products such as fat balls and suet pellets. These kind of treats will offer the highest amount of energy and levels of warmth these birds need.


Fun Fact:

Great tits actually change the shape of their beak in accordance with the seasons. In the winter with a diet of predominately seeds, their bills are thick, short and strong to cope with the cracking of the seeds - whereas in summer they prefer a softer insect-laden diet which doesn’t need much chewing.


So what are the best foods you can put out?

Here are 6 foods that are popular with garden birds:


  • Peanuts for birds - Popular with many birds, as well as other wildlife.
  • Sunflower Hearts - A highly popular choice as they attract the largest variety of birds to the garden
  • Quality Seed Mixes -  In seed feeders, sprinkled on the ground or on platform feeders
  • Mealworms -  A great source of protein
  • Suet Products - Great for the chilly conditions
  • Niger Seeds - A firm Finch favourite


It’s also essential to leave out a clean, fresh supply of drinking water


The seeds you offer should also be of high quality and cleanliness. This will make them more palatable.  Supplying fresh seed is also really important. Birds won't enjoy seed that has been on a shelf, in a bag or left in a feeder for months and months


Not all bird seed mixes are the same. When choosing your mix, be sure it is one with high-quality ingredients. Seed falls under two categories: Cereal grains and high oil seeds.  Always ensure the mix you purchase lists the ingredients and doesn’t contain cheap fillers such as split peas and dog biscuit, as these are not great for your birds.


For day to day feeding


For general feeding, seed mixes which have a good blend of cereal grains and oil seeds will provide a good deal of nourishment. During cold periods or periods of high stress, garden birds will prefer a diet of oil seeds as they provide more energy


Our Bird Food Philosophy


Kennedy Wild Bird Food is a family run business based in rural Lincolnshire, we sell our own ‘bird seed mixes’ which are blended on site. Our purchasing policy is very straight forward, we purchase only from UK based established suppliers, some of whom we have dealt with for 20 years +.


We purchase locally grown seed where possible (some from within a 5-mile radius of our premises) with the exception of peanuts and sunflower hearts.



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