Feeding garden birds
Now that the weather is getting cold and frosty and snow is forecast – we mustn’t forget about feeding our garden birds. There are so many different seeds and food that we can feed to our birds and here is a brief summary:-
Black Sunflower seeds have a high oil content and are a high energy food. They are easier than other sunflower seeds for birds to split open, although you will get the discarded husks left in the garden.
Sunflower hearts have the husks already removed so you don’t get piles left on the ground after the birds have finished – although squirrels also love these, so make sure you put them in a squirrel proof feeder.
Here is a list of birds that love to eat sunflower seeds: –
Blackbird- Blackcap- Blue tit- Chaffinch- Collared dove- Goldfinch- Great tit- Greenfinch- House sparrow- Robin- Siskin- Song thrush- Starling
Mixed seeds come in lots of different qualities. Cheaper ones tend to have a high proportion of cereal which is great for doves and pigeons. Ones with a lower cereal content are good for finches and buntings. Cheaper mixes sometimes contain green or pink lumps which are dog biscuits which need to be soaked before feeding to the birds.
Peanuts are high in oils and proteins and are great for feeding birds. Use fresh and unsalted nuts. Make sure you put them into a peanut feeder as small birds can choke on larger nuts. Birds should not take whole nuts away, but will keep coming back to feast. Crushed nuts attract wrens and robins.
Nyjer or Thistle seed is particularly popular with Goldfinches who like these small seeds. They are rich in oils and good for birds with delicate bills and are a great source of energy. They can also help birds regenerate feathers. As the seeds are very small they have to be put in a specialist bird feeder.
Mealworms are the larvae stage of a beetle. Birds love dried mealworms which have the goodness of live mealworms without the moisture. Birds that will not feed on seeds love mealworms. You can sprinkle them in the garden, put them into a mealworm feeder or rehydrate them by soaking them in warm water. These birds particularly love Mealworms. Blackbirds – Blackcaps – Dunnocks – House Sparrows – Robins – Song Thrush – Starlings – Wrens
Try to provide the amount of food for the birds that come into your garden. Uneaten food could attract foxes and rats. Clean all feeders weekly and any water containers every day as many garden birds die from dirty water bowls and feeders.
Feed your garden birds throughout the year – but make cold months a priority; and benefit from encouraging birds into your garden.
Image 1 Black Sunflower seeds
Image 2 Bird and Mealworm