Feeding birds in the summer - The do’s and don’ts

Peter McNish

Summer bird feeding tips

With the temperature on the rise, and the evenings staying light till 10pm, summer can be the most rewarding season to have a delicious bird buffet in your garden. With these summer birdwatching tips from Kennedy Wild Bird Food, we will help you attract a varied flock to your back garden. But first, let’s debunk a common myth.

Should you feed birds in the summer?

A common, completely untrue belief is that feeding birds in the summer will make them lazy and always on the lookout for handouts, instead of trying to seek natural food sources themselves.

Infact, multiple studies show that wild birds usually receive as little as 25% of their daily intake from feeders, and many common birds received an even lower percentage. Summer is an ideal time to be feeding garden birds.

Why is summer a great time to feed birds?

With nesting season in full swing, birds are raising their families, giving us keen bird watchers a prime view to witness the nestlings grow and learn to feed from our feeders.

  • Longer days mean more time to observe backyard birds and see a variety of different species.

  • Birds are also in their plumage during the summer, making identifying them a whole lot easier, with brighter colours and clearer markings.

You may discover in early summer that there are fewer birds visiting your feeder, which is only normal as many are still nesting and naturally more secretive. It’s also the time of year where natural food sources such as berries and insects are readily available, unlike winter when they are scarce. However, persistent birders will be rewarded with a bounty of birds by ensuring their feeder is filled with nutritious treats.

Best Summer Bird Foods

Offering different types of quality bird food is the best way of attracting different birds, in any season. During summer though, birds will also eat more fruits and insects in addition to the feed you leave out. Therefore, planting different types of plants will really optimise your garden.

Some of the best summer bird foods include:

Seed:  All types of seed are suitable for summer feeding, but sunflower hearts, in particular, are an incredibly popular option. Check out our guide to using sunflower hearts as bird food.

Mixed bird seed will cater to a whole range of different birds, while niger seed will help attract goldfinches and greenfinches. Read our niger seed guide here.

Mealworms: Insect-eating birds will definitely enjoy mealworms in your garden, especially as you are helping their hungry nestlings thrive with dozens of soft mealworms every day. Live mealworms are the best, but dried mealworms are great scattered among other bird seed mixes to provide that extra nutritional boost. Make sure you read the guide on using mealworms as bird food.

Peanuts: Whole peanuts or split peanuts, they are immensely popular with jays, tits and woodpeckers and can be offered in special peanut feeders. When you spot nestlings feeding in your garden, make sure you offer split peanuts to avoid them choking. Using peanuts can be tricky but very rewarding when you know how to. Check out our peanut guide for more information.

Beware

While using a variety of food will attract plenty of birds, try and avoid using a soft suet product which may not stand the summer heat, causing it to melt, spoil, foster bacteria and grow mould. You can still use suet for summer feeding though, and suet pellets will help keep your birds full and satisfied all year long.

Extra tips for summer feeding

To ensure you and your garden birds have the best experience, here are some extra tips:

  • To minimise spoiling seed and to encourage birds to visit more frequently and feed longer, place feeders in a shaded area.

  • Always supply a fresh water supply, this is not only hygienic and attract feeding birds, but it will also bring in species who do not always visit your feeder.

Inexpensive high quality bird food in the UK

Feeding birds in the summer is great, and with these tips, and some of Kennedy’s inexpensive high quality bird food, you will find dozens of bird species enjoying your garden.



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