What to Feed Your Birds and When
Just like humans, birds have a varied diet that changes with the seasons. It’s important to feed birds all year round because food shortages can occur at any time. Therefore, one of the best ways to keep your feathered friends happy is to keep your feeder topped up with nutritious treats throughout all 12 months of the year!
However, knowing what to feed birds in spring, summer, autumn and winter can be a challenging feat, but not to worry - we’re here to help! Read on to learn all about the best practices for feeding British garden birds from January through to December.
In January in the UK, it’s still cold, windy and wet, so it’s likely that you’ll find fewer feathered friends around than usual. Natural food stores are scarce around this time, so it’s important to keep your feeder topped up with energy-packed foods to see your garden visitors through the winter season.
If you’re unsure of what to feed birds in winter, you can’t go wrong with fat balls. Packed with sumptuous suet and a mix of nutritious seeds, they’ll keep your birds energised and coming back for more throughout winter!
Even though winter is drawing to a close, your feathered friends still need a helping hand in the food department!
Opt for foods such as sunflower seeds and hearts to give your birds enough protein, energy and calories to see them through the last few weeks of winter!
March signals the start of spring and many birds are returning to their homes after a brief stint of winter sun!
The early nesters, Robins and Blackbirds could easily be sitting on clutches if the weather is favourable.
Welcome your feathered friends back and entice new ones with our wild mixed bird seed. The mix is suitable for year-round feeding and contains a tasty mix of seeds that will attract a wide range of birds to your garden!
April is one of the times of year when birds are the most active, with many birds visiting Britain from far corners of the globe for the breeding season. Therefore, if you tailor your feeding you may be able to attract a wide range of species to your garden including:
- Song thrushes
Entice new visitors with blends packed with fruit such as our ground mix or insect-a-mix in April. Don’t forget to make sure your water bath is clean and topped up, and be sure to clean your feeding table regularly to avoid contamination.
Nesting season is in full swing.
If you want to attract a wide range of insect-eating birds such as robins, thrushes and sparrows this spring, then dried mealworms and insect mixes will be your best bet! As well as this, you should always ensure water is available to keep your birds hydrated during their visit.
To keep non-insect eating birds happy too, a dry seed mix will help to keep them satisfied. Why not switch to a plain seed mix such as niger seed or sunflower hearts to try and find a firm favourite for your garden visitors!
June is when summer begins, and if us Brits are lucky, the weather will start to heat up too! It’s best to avoid suet products throughout the duration of summer as these can quickly go rancid in the summer heat, which can potentially make your birds ill.
During nesting season, highly calorific foods are recommended. Hard working parents are attempting to consume many calories with the least amount of effort. If you’re unsure of what to feed birds in summer sunflower hearts and mealworms (live or dried) are strong favourites. These foods can attract birds such as:
The bird nesting season in England lasts from February through to August, so if you’re lucky you might find a few friendly fledglings visiting your garden!
To help baby birds flourish and transform into healthy adults, put out sunflower seeds and mealworms to give them the protein and energy they need to grow healthy and strong.
If you want to entice woodpeckers, nuthatches and treecreepers, you’ll need to place fat balls or any other suet products on the branches of your established trees.
A mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, a nectar substitute can also attract more exotic species to your garden. Give it a try! However, it’s important to regularly change your nectar to avoid it getting spoilt in the August heat and causing harm to your visitors.
Peanuts are a great food to put out in September and throughout Autumn. They’re a perfect source of protein, fat and fibre, therefore they’ll give any garden visitors a much-needed energy boost when stopping by!
Make sure you have given them plain, unseasoned nuts as high levels of salt are dangerous for birds. Also, ensure they are placed in a good ‘nut feeder’ to ensure your birds are not able to take whole nuts which can be a choking hazard for young or small birds. As always, leave out plenty of water too.
October is a great time to provide high-energy feed for birds that will migrate for the winter.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a squirrel-proof feeder around this time of year, as foraging squirrels may take a shine to your birds’ food and deplete their supplies. Browse our range of squirrel-proof feeders here.
As winter gets closer, the availability of food gets lower, and many birds fly south in search of warmer weather.
It’s important to keep the birds that stick around well fed to see them through the colder months. Suet products such as pellets and fat balls can provide birds with much-needed energy in November.
Many UK birds migrate South in December, however, you may find birds from far corners of the globe visiting during winter, so be sure to make them feel at home! You can do this by filling your bird feeder with mixed wild bird food and mixed flavour suet pellets.
The mix of flavours and textures will attract a number of birds and the suet will help to keep your garden visitors nourished during these tough winter months.
Keeping birds fed and watered all year round is crucial to for their survival and can help to keep Britain’s towns and cities full of beautiful birds for as long as possible!
For new and experienced birders, don’t forget to log your sightings in our handy Birdspotter app! With this, you can help towards the conservation of certain bird species and chat with other twitchers on the forum.