Gardeners love feeding the birds, but
sometimes it can be daunting to know
which food to feed which species. The most
important thing to consider when feeding
birds is nutrition. Birds need calories,
which give them the energy to fly, and
protein, which aids feather and egg
production. Traditionally gardeners would
feed birds only in winter, but these days
it's recommended to feed them all-year-round.
These sunflower seeds are packed
with protein and oil, but the birds have
to remove each husk to access the heart
inside. This can cause mess around
feeders, and the birds require a lot of
energy just to de-husk the seed, so you
can buy ready-husked sunflower hearts.
These are more expensive, but they're
well worth it as blue tits, great tits,
goldfinches, greenfinches absolutely love them.
There's no mess around feeders, the birds
are straight into the energy, and they're brilliant.
Next we have nyjer seed, which is a very
good choice if you want to attract
goldfinches, although you may find they
prefer the sunflower hearts.
Nyjer seed is very free-flowing, so you need
to use a special feeder which has a
narrow slit to prevent the seed from falling out.
It's also worth attaching a tray to the
bottom of the feeder, which can mop up
any spilled seed. Next we have a seed mix
which is designed for a variety of
different species such as robins and
wrens. When buying seed mixes it's a good
idea to spend a little extra money.
Cheaper seed mixes can be bulked out with larger
grains such as lentils and split peas.
The smaller birds simply discard these at
the feeder, in order to access the grains
they do want which can cause mess around
your feeding station. This is quite an
expensive seed mix which has got
sunflower seeds, kibbled maize, linseed and
rapeseed with are all very rich in oils
and calories for birds.
Peanuts are another good source of protein
and calories, and are suitable for tits and
larger birds such as great spotted woodpeckers.
When buying peanuts, always
check that they've been tested for aflatoxins,
a harmful fungus which can kill birds.
So lastly we have suet products.
Suet comes in a range of
different forms such as fat balls, cakes,
and you can buy suet which has seed
mixes in, mealworms and other treats like
that, which appeal to different species,
and are very nutritious and rich in
calories, which is very important in
winter. When feeding suet to your birds
do make sure you have a feeder that has
large holes, so the birds can access the
food inside. So here we have sunflower
hearts, sunflower seed, nyger seed, seed
mix, peanuts and suet products, which are
all suitable for a different range of
species at different times of the year.