Providing birds with the correct nutrients in bird food is vital for their overall health. Buying bird food online can be tough – it’s important you know which breed of bird is visiting your garden and in which season, so you can assure you are offering them the right food, at the highest quality.
In this blog, we will be discussing where you can buy quality wild bird food online, and what to avoid when feeding your flying garden visitors.
At Kennedy Wild Bird Food, we pride ourselves on sourcing quality and nutritious food for birds. But why is quality bird food important? In this blog, we will guide you through the importance of feeding birds quality and nutritional food and what this is.
Bird feeding stations are a great way to encourage wild birds to visit your garden and to support populations. There is a misconception that wild birds only need additional food over the winter months, and whilst it’s true that they can often find natural sources of food during the warmer months, wild birds benefit from extra food all year round. Birds need to build up an extra layer of fat under their skin to protect them from harsh weather and give them energy for flying longer distances and additional bird feed can help with that.
Bird food for spring. Natural food is scarce during the winter and early spring period so providing them with a food source will be beneficial.
It’s best to put bird feed out all year-round so they’ll always have a source of nutrition. Coming to the end of winter means you should change the bird food that’s out to something more appropriate.
So what bird food treats are specific to the season of spring?
What Can I Feed Birds In Spring?
In the early days of spring, birds will be around more and their behavioural patterns will adjust. They also require different nutritional needs for seasonal occurrences. Like breeding.
Not technically food but perhaps the most important on this list.
Birds need water to clean and bathe as well as to drink. It’s important to always provide a hydration source for birds, especially more so in the warmer months. Throughout spring, hydration is essential for adult birds. They make few trips to provide for their nestling as well as themselves. Staying topped up on water will prevent dehydration.
Some nice treats further into spring may be cut up fruits. It’s okay to leave soft fruits around for birds, like bananas and grapes. They can eat dried fruits, too, such as sultanas and raisins. As long as you clean your feeding table to make sure the food stays in good condition.
Talk about a meal full of sustenance. At this time of the year, birds need a little more nourishment and dried mealworms offer exactly that. (Remember to also provide a water source with dried foods!)
They are also a good option to help birds avoid starvation. During the constant weather fluxes, the availability of natural foods can also flux. Wet weather can affect birds that eat insects and dry food can affect birds that eat earth insects, like worms. So having bird feed all year-round helps this. Especially when these occurrences happen.
Sunflower seeds have many nutrients that are great for birds at this time of the year. And they are always a very popular choice by the birds.
To be all-inclusive, you should provide bird feed mixtures. This will attract a number of species who can all benefit from the bird food. You could consider seed mixtures without peanuts, and insect bird food mixtures for those insectivores.
What Should I Avoid Feeding Birds In Spring?
Some people have attempted to use soaked pet foods before, things like tinned cat food and dog food. This should be avoided. Putting out soaked pet food just attracts cats. And cats are a known predator of birds.
Though bread can sometimes offer nutritious value, not in spring. Adult birds feed what they can scavenge to their nestling.
You can put peanuts out as bird food. But, bigger peanuts should be in mesh feeders or small metal-wired feeders. Larger nut pieces pose choking hazards to young chicks. And even if you’re unsure about whether there’s baby birds, you can still do this. After all, it is the season of birth and new life so it’s likely that mothers will take bird food back to the nesting.
Any fat balls you have will soften in the warmer weather so they’ll go rotten. It’s best to give bird feed in this situation as stale food will not provide any nutritional value to their diets.
Making sure there is extra bird food on your table, in the feeders, or out in your garden can really make all the difference. It can really help push the survival of the birds, as well as keep them healthy.
A quick overview of foods to avoid when feeding wild birds.
Feeding the birds that visit your garden is a great way to support wildlife and spot wild birds. You may even be tempted to share some leftovers from your own meals with your garden birds, however, while some human food is safe for birds, other things we eat can be potentially hazardous or even fatal to wild birds. That’s why you need to know what foods are safe and what foods to avoid. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what food you shouldn’t feed birds to keep your feathered friends safe and healthy.
If you regularly feed the wild birds that visit your garden, you’ll want to make sure you never run out of bird feed. This means you’ll need to find a safe and convenient way to store your bird food supply to keep it fresh and easily to hand when it’s time to top up your bird feeders. If you want to know what is the best bird food storage container, read on and we’ll share our top tips on how to keep your wild bird food in tip-top condition.
Problems From Incorrectly Stored Bird Food
Incorrectly stored bird food can lead to a several problems. One of the major issues is that bird food such as sunflower seeds, peanuts and other wild bird seed is not only delicious for birds, it’s also highly attractive to pests, such as rats, mice and insects! If your birdseed isn’t stored correctly, pests can easily find their way to your supply and help themselves.
Another problem with poor bird food storage is that your bird food may be exposed to damp or extreme temperatures and begin to go bad. This can be dangerous – and even fatal – to birds that eat it.
Other problems with improper storage are that it can lead to spills of bird food and make refilling your bird feeders messy, tricky and time-consuming!
How To Tell If Your Bird Food Has Gone Bad
The first clue that your bird food has gone bad is if the wild birds visiting your garden don’t seem to be eating it anymore!
You can also inspect your bird feed for telltale clues. Check for insects (alive or dead) or other signs of an infestation. You can also do a sniff-test of your bird food. Musty odours suggest mould or mildew from damp seed. Sharp unpleasant smells are a definite warning sign that your bird food should be discarded.
Look out for signs that rodents may have got to your bird feed such as damaged containers, teeth marks or signs of chewing and even trails of bird food leading away from the container or rodent droppings nearby.
How To Store Bird Food Properly
The best way to store bird food is in a cool, dry place out of reach of pests. Your bird food containers should also have lids on them to keep your bird feed fresh and prevent contamination. If your bird food has gone bad and you are reusing a container, it’s best to thoroughly wash and disinfect the container after disposing of the old feed before you refill it with fresh bird food. If the container is damaged in any way (for example, it’s been chewed through) then it’s better to repair or replace it before filling it with new birdseed.
To keep your bird feed supply fresh and delicious for the birds visiting your garden, only buy enough bird food to match demand and throw away old seed before refilling containers (i.e. never mix old and new seed together.)
The Best Bird Food Storage Containers
So what is the best bird food storage container? Bird food containers come in all shapes and sizes and can be made of plastic or metal. Whichever style of bird food storage container you choose, you should ensure it has a lid to deter pests and keep your wild bird food fresh.
When considering what is the best bird food storage container think about where you’ll keep it. Containers close to feeders makes refilling bird feeders easier and many people choose a sheltered outdoor location like a garage, shed or storage box. You can store bird feed indoors but it needs to be kept cool so make sure it’s away from radiators or warm pipes and isn’t somewhere that is likely to get condensation or damp.
Smaller bird food storage containers are lighter and easier to move so are a good choice if you only store small amounts of bird feed or if you need to carry the container outside to your bird feeder, whereas larger containers are ideal for storing greater amounts of bird food.
Sturdy plastic bins, and galvanized metal containers are popular choices for bird food storage. The most important thing is to choose a bird food storage container that is durable and sturdy making it less likely to crack, rust or break over time and making it difficult for pests to chew through!
All storage containers should have a well-fitting lid to prevent insects and rodents from accessing your bird feed. Watertight lids are ideal as they’ll protect birdseed from the elements if stored outside. If you do keep your bird foor storage container outdoors, make sure it’s weighty enough not to be pushed or blown over!
Labelling your bird food storage container is a great idea so you know what type of bird feed is inside, or if you store several different types of wild bird food, choose clear containers for storage so you can easily identify which is which.
Storage Containers For Fat Balls and Live Bird Food
Fat balls or suet for birds should be stored separately from other types of bird feed (such as seeds) as these have a shorter shelf life, especially in warm or damp weather. They should be kept in their own sealed bird food storage container, ideally made from plastic.
Similarly, if you use live bird food such as live mealworms, these will need to be kept at a specific temperature to prevent them hatching into beetles. A cool, dark, well-ventilated area between 8 and 10 degrees celsius is ideal and you should choose storage containers with deep sides and a lid.
Can you grow the sunflower seeds you find in your bird mix? Sunflower seeds for birds are a popular garden treat for our feathered friends but maybe you’re worried about ending up with a field full of sunflowers! Or you may want to give growing sunflowers a go? Let’s find out if bird food sunflower seeds will actually amount to much.
Sunflower Seeds For Birds
First of all, it’s important to distinguish between the different types of sunflower seeds available for feeding birds.
We favour providing sunflower hearts over black sunflower as they’re even more nutritious for birds. Black sunflower seeds may grow if you plant them in the ground and provide the right conditions – they turn into lovely multi-headed sunflowers.
Sunflower hearts and heart chips have had their seed husk removed so will therefore never grow. These are a favourite with birds and are great for fledglings because of their smaller size. But, if you were expecting to grow sunflowers from nutritious hearts, you will be disappointed.
Wont Grow Bird Food
How does bird food end up germinating anyway?
Bird food sprouts and grows into plants – sometimes even when you’ve carefully filled feeders or placed food on a table because birds sift through food looking for their favourite bits. You may have spotted blackbirds doing this – they will pick up seeds, one by one, discarding the ones they don’t fancy! These discarded seeds end up on the ground and can germinate. Not every seed will germinate as seeds need the right conditions to grow – the right amount of light, heat etc but some will make it.
No mess mixes are specially formulated with ingredients that won’t ever germinate. The variety we sell contain sunflower hearts, kibbled maize, pinhead oats, and rapeseed oil. None of these food items will germinate so your garden will be free of pesky sunflowers and other unwanted plants.
Growing Sunflowers From Bird Food
Now, if you want to grow sunflowers in your garden, you definitely can use the ones from bird food.
You won’t know which variety your sunflowers are but if you just want pretty plants then that won’t matter so much.
Here is what you will need to grow sunflowers from sunflower seeds for birds:
Small pots or a seed tray
Compost (always try to go for a peat-free one as it’s better for the environment!)
A clear plastic bag – a food bag is ideal.
Simply fill your pots or seed tray with compost, ensuring the soil is level and then give it a good water. It’s better to do this first so you don’t wash your seeds around!
You will then need to push your sunflower seeds into the soil, about an inch deep is right. This is much deeper than many other types of seed that like to germinate on top of the soil. It’s also the reason why sunflower seeds don’t often germinate by chance when they fall from a feeding station.
You should then cover the pot with a plastic bag – this will help generate a bit more warmth and help the soil retain moisture.
You should see germination fast – around 4-10 days. Once your seedlings have their first ‘true leaves, the ones that grow after the seeds first baby leaves have emerged, you can carefully remove the tiny plants from their pots and plant them in your garden! Once they’re off to a good start, sunflowers don’t require much care other than the odd drink if it’s warm.
Alternatively, once the last frosts have passed (usually around the end of April, start of May in the UK) you can plant seeds directly in your garden. Just watch out for slugs nibbling on the emerging seedlings.
Can You Feed Birds With Homegrown Sunflower Seeds?
If you manage to successfully grow your sunflowers, you will see them flower and then enjoy the magnificent seed heads that form. Each sunflower head can hold hundreds and hundreds of seeds!
Sunflowers produce way more seed than you will ever need to grow the plant again so it’s best to let the birds eat the leftover seeds. First, remove a few ripe seeds to save for planting next year (pop them in an envelope and store them in a cool, dry place) and then simply leave the rest of the seeds on the plant and let the birds enjoy their natural bird feeder. Goldfinches, in particular, love swinging around on sunflowers picking out the seeds!
Bird feeders provide wild birds with an accessible and reliable food source (providing, of course, the feeder is topped up regularly!) Bird feeders are also an excellent accessory for your yard, garden or allotment, helping nature, encouraging wildlife and allowing you to spot and get to know the wild birds that visit your feeder.
If you enjoy bird watching at home or just enjoy feeding them in your garden then you probably leave out food. If you do there are certain things you need to be aware of like can bird food go bad and how to spot when feed is rotten.
Why Leave Food Out?
Feeding birds can get you closer to wildlife at home. Food can be hard for birds to find and if you leave it out for them you can do a lot of good and help them survive. Food from a specialist like Kennedy wild bird food has been specially designed to help birds.
All of our feeds are specially designed to make sure that birds have all the nutrients, calories and proteins they need to do everything they need to do. Whether it’s staying warm, making a long journey or having the energy to look for more food. Some of the products we sell include:
There are lots of different ways you can choose to feed the birds. You just need to make sure that it is a place that the birds can easily get to but is still in the same place. Make sure it is elevated off the ground to protect the birds from ground predators like cats and foxes, but also if possible, try and place food somewhere safe and secluded like under a tree or against the wall. This is so birds of prey can’t swoop down and take birds while they feed.
You can choose to scatter food on a roof, a bird table or hang the food up in a bird feeder. However you choose to leave the food out for the bird make sure you don’t leave too much out as it can go bad if left out for a long time. If this happens you need to know how to spot when the bird food has gone bad.
Can Bird Food Go Bad?
Bird food is just like any other and because of this, it can go bad if left out for too long. This usually happens when it rains and the bird food gets wet then dries out again however just like any food it can go bad when left out.
Bird food tends to get worse after it’s been left out for around 3 days. If you don’t want it to go bad then make sure you only ever leave out enough food for 3 days at the most, but if you can it’s better to leave out enough for one day and top it up when you need to.
Eating spoiled or rotten feed can be very bad for birds and not only will it fail to give them the nutrients they need, but it could also make them ill. If you don’t want this to happen then you need to be able to spot when bird food has gone bad.
When birdseed gets wet and goes bad it will start to form clumps. Birdseed does have some natural clumps and if they break away easily in your fingers then it’s nothing to be concerned about, but if the clumps are strong and don’t break up easily then the bird food has gone bad. When this happens you might need to clean the bird feeder it was in as the clumps can sometimes block holes and make it harder for birds to eat.
Another tell-tale sign the bird feed has gone bad is when there are obvious signs of rotting. This can be stuff like mould forming on the bird food or insects that have started to hang around the feeders or table more. Again, some insects are normal, but if there is a lot of them or you notice some insects have laid eggs in the birdseed then it is time to throw it out.
If you are feeding the birds seeds or grains then sometimes these can germinate over time, especially if they have gotten wet. You can tell when this is happening if you see shoots starting to form in your bird feeder. Other signs of this include the seeds swelling or splitting open and when this happens birds will not eat them.
If you want to feed the birds at home, then you need to make your garden a warm and inviting place that the birds will want to visit. Adding a birdbath can be a great way to do this, but there are some pros & cons to having a birdbath that you should be aware of before you make any decisions.
What Is a Bird Bath?
A birdbath is a small shallow basin that is filled with water and left out in your garden. It can help provide birds with water to drink and to bathe in and this can attract a lot of birds to your garden, it can, however, cause some problems and you need to make sure that you have thought of all the pros and cons.
The Pros of Getting a Bird Bath?
Bird Baths Can Attract More Birds To Your Garden
Birds will be looking to land somewhere where there is water. If your garden has water then a bird is more likely to want to stay and feed there.
This is great if you are a home birdwatcher or enjoy feeding the birds as it means more birds will visit your garden. Birds will be attracted to any kind of water feature like a pond or fountain, but if you don’t have one of these then a birdbath is a great alternative way to attract birds and give them water.
They Are A Safe Way For Birds To Get Water
Birds need water to survive. They get thirsty and exhausted just like any other creature and they must have access to good clean drinking water. This is especially important in summer when birds can overheat and need to drink water to keep cool.
You can leave water for birds in any sort of dish that is shallow enough for them to stand, but deep enough to wade in. a large bowl or dish can be left on the ground for birds to bathe but this can leave them open to the ground predators.
Birdbaths are elevated meaning the bird can get to the water and not have to be on alert for a cat or fox that might be waiting on the ground nearby.
Keeping Clean Can Help Birds Survive
Birds need to do something called preening, this is when they use oil from something called their preen gland to coat their feathers. This oil coating will help keep their feathers strong enough to fly and more importantly keep them waterproof so they can still fly even if it rains.
The Cons of Getting a Bird Bath?
You Need to Keep Filling Your Bird Bath Up
Birdbaths need to be constantly filled with water. You need to be able to keep an eye on the birdbath a make sure that the water levels aren’t getting too low.
Constantly refilling the birdbath can be a chore especially if you struggle to carry heavy items and you can’t be filling and carrying a basin once a day. You can fill the birdbath with a garden hose, but in high temperatures, in summer there may be a hosepipe ban and then you might not be able to fill your birdbath.
They Can Leave Birds Open To Predators
Although a birdbath can keep your garden birds safe from ground predators they might still be at risk of attack. There are other predators like birds of prey who might be able to swoop down and take birds from the birdbath, especially if the birdbath is in an uncovered area that the birds of prey can easily get to.
They Can House Disease and Make Birds Ill
Birdbaths can end up spreading disease like avian flu and making birds very ill. If birds are constantly washing in your birdbath then the water can quickly become contaminated with dirt, bacteria and faeces which can become a breeding ground for germs that will make the bird in your garden very sick.
Some avian diseases are spread very quickly and if just one sick bird uses your birdbath, then every other bird that uses it can catch the illness. Remember to regularly clean your birdbath to stop the spread of diseases and make sure to always wear gloves and keep safe when you are doing so.
There are lots of different birds in the UK and many of them will happily come to your garden to eat food when they can. There is one bird however that you can be sure will always come to visit your garden.
The pigeon is a common bird here in the UK and don’t be surprised if you see them start to visit your garden more often when they realise you have food. If you notice pigeons in your garden are looking for food then here is what bird food you can feed to pigeons.
Should I Feed Pigeons?
There is a bit of a debate on whether or not you can feed pigeons in the UK. Pigeons, at least wild pigeons, are often seen as pests and some places might discourage you from feeding them. This is because if pigeons discover a place has food, they will start to hang around more and pigeons can breed very fast meaning if you are not careful a place can easily become overrun with them.
You can, however leave food out for the pigeons that visit your garden. If you have a bird feeder or bird table pigeons will naturally gravitate towards them and you should have no problem getting them to feed in your garden.
What Do Pigeons Eat?
Pigeons are very resourceful and resilient birds that will probably eat almost anything given the chance. If you have ever seen a pigeon in a busy city or town centre chances are they haven’t gotten to be so plump and well-fed eating bird food and insects.
Pigeons, like most birds, tend to go for bread when they are looking for food in busy areas. If you want you can feed the pigeons that visit your garden bread also along with any other food scraps that are safe for birds to eat. Pigeons may be resilient, but they are still just birds with fragile digestive systems so make sure to always check before you feed them anything.
Of course, it is always best to feed pigeons proper, good quality bird food that has been specially designed and checked to be good for them and safe for birds to eat.
If you are keeping pigeons as pets or plan to use them for racing then you must feed them the right food and make sure that they are healthy and eating properly. Here at Kennedy Wild Bird Food, we have a range of bird food that has been specially designed for birds, both wild birds or pets, so you know your pigeon is getting food that will help them.
What Bird Food Can I Feed To Pigeons?
As mentioned before pigeons can eat practically any bird food you give them but they are particularly drawn to seeds. Here at Kennedy Wild Bird Food, we have a range of bird seeds and birdseed mixes that you can feed to pigeons and feel safe knowing that they are getting the best quality birds seeds that they can get.
Remember to always buy seeds for birds through a bird food specialist. You can buy seeds from the supermarket but they are often expensive and haven’t been tested to make sure that they are safe for birds. With a bird food specialist, you can be confident that the food you are leaving out for the birds is guaranteed not the cause the bird any harm.
An important thing to remember with pigeons is they can be rather greedy, you might notice a lot of pigeons are rather plump. Pigeons have become scavengers over the years and they never know when they will get their next meal, because of this they will eat and eat until they are full. Keep this in mind when you leave food out for pros and make sure you don’t leave too much food out for them, you might think you are being helpful by leaving a generous amount out but they can end up eating more than
One of the simplest pleasures in life is spotting wild birds in our gardens and local area and this is something we can all enjoy year-round. If you’re looking for bird feed to help you spot wild birds in winter, we have some suggestions to get you started.
Why is bird feed so important for wild birds in winter?
Colder temperatures and harsher weather conditions during the long winter months make life harder for birds. Even birds that have adapted to survive the cold UK winters can benefit from additional bird feed during winter, as their natural food sources will be in shorter supply, particularly in snowy or icy conditions.
Birds require a wide range of nutrients to survive all year round but particularly in bad weather when flying conditions are poor and birds will use more energy in their search for food, water and shelter. Extra bird feed can give wild birds the additional energy they need to make these difficult journeys.
The ‘Hungry Gap’ refers to a period of winter where seed-bearing crops are in short supply in the UK. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) found some birds may be at risk of disappearing from the British countryside because they are struggling to find adequate food between February and April as most of the seed-bearing crop fields are ploughed at this time.
All wild birds also need fat in their diet so that they can store it to keep warm during winter, however not all fats are suitable for birds, so it’s important to choose the right type of bird feed if you want to help wild birds in winter.
Which bird feed should I choose?
We have lots of bird feed options and many contain a balance of nutrients that are suitable for year-round use. Our wild bird feed mixes use a blend of the highest quality ingredients and are the result of over 20 years of research into bird feed. This means that no matter which of the Kennedy wild bird seed mixes you choose, they can be used to support wild birds throughout the year.
We even have options for attracting specific birds to your garden, such as our Robin Bird Food, designed especially for Britain’s most popular bird and a symbol of winter.
Here are some other excellent choices of bird feed to help you spot wild birds in winter.
Superior Economy Wild Bird Seed
Our superior economy wild bird seed contains Black Sunflower Seeds which are full of essential nutrients and have a high oil content to help build healthy fat reserves and Sunflower Hearts which are highly nutritious and easy for fast feasting, making them ideal bird feed for winter. This bird feed is versatile to attract a wide variety of birds and is perfect for feeding all year round. You can use it in a seed feeder or scatter it on a bird table.
High Energy Bird Feed Premium Quality
Our high energy bird feed is blended with the highest quality seed, perfect for all small garden and farmland birds. It can be used all year round but has been specially designed to bridge the ‘hungry gap’ when food is scarce and its high energy content makes it perfect for even the coldest winter weather. This bird feed is best fed from a feeder or bird table and can also be scattered on the ground.
Once you’ve chosen your bird feed to help you spot wild birds in winter, what birds can you expect to see in your garden?
In winter, even the shyest of wild birds will be tempted to leave the safety and shelter of their usual woodlands and hedgerows to search for food in our gardens and near our homes, making them easier to spot.
Resident Starlings visit gardens year-round and you may spot even more of these sociable birds during the winter months as some migrate here from Europe for winter, arriving in autumn and staying until February or March.
The Blue Tit is a colourful garden visitor. These delicate little birds enjoy mixed bird feed, fat balls and sunflower hearts. They can be spotted in woodlands, hedges, parks and gardens across the UK.
Goldfinches have a distinctive red face and though some fly south for winter, others remain in the UK year-round. These birds are seed specialists and are particularly attracted to niger seeds.
Perhaps one of the cutest wild birds to spot in winter, Long-tailed Tits are small and fluffy. They visit bird feeders in winter when their usual choice of insects and invertebrates are in short supply. They don’t stay still for long but travel in flocks, making them easier to spot flitting from branch to branch.
Unusual birds you may be lucky enough to spot in winter include Waxwings. They don’t breed in the UK but visit during winter. These garden birds have colourful tails, and they particularly enjoy berries and are most often spotted along the East Coast.
Britain’s smallest birds, Goldcrests are naturally shy, spending most of their time in conifer forests but these tiny green and yellow birds can be found at bird tables during winter. They’re resident in the UK all year round and can be spotted across the country.
You may also be lucky enough to spot Bramblings, who typically flock in small groups. They visit the UK during winter and love mealworms. You can spot them by their distinctive orange plumage and screech-like call.
Top tips for spotting wild birds in winter
If you’re using bird feed to help you spot wild birds in winter, make sure you keep feeding the birds throughout the winter, otherwise, they will waste precious energy returning to your bird table or feeder only to find it empty. It’s also important to supply fresh water for bathing and drinking, even when it’s snowy or rainy and to defrost frozen water if it ices over.
Got a question for us? Call us today on 01778 342 665