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A guide to the types of food to feed your garden birds

You can buy and also make a wide range of food for your garden birds, we have compiled a selection of the most popular in this blog.

Seeds and seed mixes

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 seed mixes

Sunflower hearts
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.

Sunflower mix
often known for an easy no waste, no mess blend of sunflower hearts, musk free oats, canary seed suet’s and kibbled maize.

Nyjer seeds
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.

Suet and fat

An excellent, high energy food that’s very important during the winter months.

Suet cake
Cakes can be hung in special flat hanging feeders.

Suet sprinkles
Sprinkles came with insects, meal-worms and berries. Ideal for bird feeders.

Suet balls
Can be hung individually or placed in heaps of three of four in a hanging mesh feeder.

Insects and worms

Available in dried or live forms and are highly nutritious. These together with traditional seeds can ensure your garden birds have a balanced diet.

Live meal-worms
Beetle larvae can be handled cleanly, excellent for young birds as they are high in protein.

Bug mix
A blend of dried waterfly, river shrimp and mealworms. These can be placed onto a bird table, ground and mixed with seeds.

Dried mealworms
This has the goodness of live mealworms but it lacks the moisture. It’s advised to soak the worms in warm water.

Other food

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.

Cooked rice
Brown or white rice is a good choice for birds, but it must not be salted.

Fresh coconut
Hang up a fresh coconut after breaking it in half. Rinse out the residue of coconut water to prevent any mildew.

Raisins
A fruity treat for a variety of birds, keep out of reach of dogs as they are toxic.

Making food

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.

Making 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 feeding chart