Birdwatching in summer

Summer brings new birds to the back gardens of Britain, with summer migrations and spring fledglings learning to fly and eventually leaving the nest. The summer months provide a great opportunity to take part in some birdwatching, whether it be in your back garden, or at your local park. Find out how to spot and look after these new feathered friends in this guide to summer birdwatching!

British Summer Birds

The advent of summer brings with it a whole host of new birds to spot. Head over to the BirdSpotter app to log your sightings, and discuss birdwatching tips with other twitchers on the forum.


Nightjars are nocturnal birds and are found at dawn and dusk looking for food. Surviving predominantly on insects such as moths and beetles, you’re most likely to find these birds near woodland or heathland between April and August.


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Woodcocks are large, distinctive birds with long, straight tapering bills. They eat a variety of small insects and snails. The woodcock population has fallen in recent years, so keep your eyes peeled for these rare visitors!


Cuckoos can be identified by their blue-grey feathers, and are found both in rural and urban areas throughout the UK in the summer months. They are well known for laying eggs in other bird’s nests, but unfortunately, they are facing a decline in numbers in the UK.


Swifts are found throughout the UK and are usually spotted performing some aerial acrobatics in large groups. These birds are so good in the air that they can even sleep whilst flying!


Swallows are easily identified by their red throats and long tail feathers. Swallows tend to nest and frequent areas near livestock and horses, so if you live in the countryside or near a farm, keep an eye out for these beautiful birds!

Summer bird behaviour

In the summer months, birds will move away from their treetops and are more often found in bushes and thick foliage. This helps to keep them cool during high temperatures and also provides protection as they shed their feathers.


Although feathers are hard wearing, they must be shed and replaced annually, which occurs during the summer months. Hiding away in bushes helps to protect birds during this process, and conserve precious energy for their annual molting.

What to feed birds in summer

Summer is a demanding time for birds, as they work hard to raise their young and prepare themselves for the colder months ahead. Feeding birds in summer is just as important as winter feeding. Nutrient and energy dense foods are ideal, however, fat-based foods such as lard cakes and fat balls should be avoided as they can quickly turn rancid in the summer heat.


Ideal food for birds in summer includes:

Providing water for birds during summer

Unlike humans, birds do not have sweat glands, which means they can easily overheat when the weather gets warmer. Providing a shallow dish of water in a shady spot during summer can help a variety of birds to cool down, and hydrate themselves throughout the day.

Food for birds in summer from Kennedy Wild Bird Food

At Kennedy Wild Bird Food, we provide a range of options for your feathered friends to help them thrive in summer and beyond. Take a look at our range of sunflower hearts, mealworms, and peanuts for birds, which are all suitable for summer feeding. Alternatively, for a perfect year-round option, click here to find out more about our mixed wild bird seed.