Wild garden birds are a wonderful sight and sound to behold. They can brighten up any garden and make you feel like you are truly in touch with nature. However, in order for you to take advantage of the joys of having wild birds visiting your garden, it is important that you know what to feed them and what not to feed them.
So, what should I feed my wild garden birds?
There are four main types of food that can be fed to wild garden birds. These are:
Seeds, Nuts and Grains – these are easy to digest and provide lots of energy for the birds. Nuts are a good source of fats and protein which give the birds energy during their migration.
Suet and Fat – A great choice for birds especially for the Winter months.
Insects and Worms – Highly nutritious food source that’s suitable for all wild garden birds.
Other Foods – bread is high in carbohydrates but has little nutritional value so it’s not something we recommend feeding. Other types of foods suitable to feed wild garden birds include cooked rice and coconut.
Seeds, Nuts and Grains
A wide variety of bird seed mixes are available to purchase to place in bird feeders and your bird table. Particular seed mixes can be purchased from a wide range of places including supermarkets, pet stores and dedicated websites such as RSPB.
Types of Seeds, Nuts and Grains that are suitable for Garden Birds
Hearts are particularly trouble free as they save the trouble of clearing up inedible shells. They are easy for birds to eat, also rich in oil and protein.
Often known for an easy no waste, no mess blend of sunflower hearts, musk free oats, canary seed suet’s and kibbled maize.
Oil-rich and highly nutritious seeds for a wide range of birds including goldfinches, siskins and lesser redpolls. Ensure you purchase the correct feeder as the seeds are smaller than average.
Classic bird feed mix
A traditional choice that’s popular for a wide range of garden birds. Includes hearts, oats and millet.
Types of Suet and Fat that are suitable for Garden Birds
An excellent, high energy food that’s very important during the winter months.
Cakes can be hung in special flat hanging feeders.
Sprinkles came with insects, meal-worms and berries. Ideal for bird feeders.
Can be hung individually or placed in heaps of three of four in a hanging mesh feeder.
Types of Insects and Worms that are suitable for Garden Birds
Available in dried or live forms and are highly nutritious. These together with traditional seeds can ensure your garden birds have a balanced diet.
Beetle larvae can be handled cleanly, excellent for young birds as they are high in protein.
A blend of dried waterfly, river shrimp and mealworms. These can be placed onto a bird table, ground and mixed with seeds.
This has the goodness of live mealworms but it lacks the moisture. It’s advised to soak the worms in warm water.
Other types of Food that are suitable for Garden Birds
The menu for your garden birds doesn’t stop at the available range of specialist mixes. Leftovers and surplus food from your own Kitchen can still provide nutritious food for a wide variety of species. Avoid serving any mouldy or stale foods, some examples are shown below:-
Uncooked porridge oats
This is a favourite for many birds, never serve cooked porridge oats as they could harden around the bird’s beaks.
Brown or white rice is a good choice for birds, but it must not be salted.
Hang up fresh coconut after breaking it in half. Rinse out the residue of coconut water to prevent any mildew.
A fruity treat for a variety of birds, keep out of reach of dogs as they are toxic.
Making your own food for Wild Garden Birds
You can use your own cooking skills to provide food for birds to complement the specialist bird food to buy. Also, many of your leftovers will be gratefully accepted by birds, so consider this before you put your leftovers in the bin.
How to make your own bird cake
You will need mix seed, unsalted chopped peanuts, small pieces of fruit and kitchen leftovers (bacon rind, cheese, potatoes, cake, rice and fruit) with lard in a saucepan. You can fashion the mix into ball shapes, bars and cakes with the aid of moulds.
Let the cake set and then hang it up on a hook, or place in a cage feeder.
Bird Feeder Chart
Where can I buy Wild Bird Feed?
Wild Bird Feed is widely available at pet stores, garden centres, hardware stores, and even the grocery store.
It comes in seed mixes of various size and quality, as well as in separate seeds and mixes that you can customize to your own needs.
Typically the better quality mixes will cost more per kilogram but they are also higher in nutritional value and less prone to spoilage due to their freshness.
If you want to save money then buying a mix with fewer ingredients such as sunflower seeds is recommended over a mix with lots of different seeds since those mix tend to go stale faster than others.
If you don’t have access to any of these places then there are plenty of other options for buying Wild Bird Feed online including Amazon, eBay and many more!