Most popular types of garden bird foods:
Bird Seed Mixes:
- Because these ready-made mixes contain a broad range of delicious, energy-rich seeds and grains, they have something to suit every bird. and are, therefore, an excellent value, general food for attracting a wide variety of species.
- They can be fed from bird feeders, (to attract tits, finches etc) or sprinkled on the ground for sparrows, robins and blackbirds.
- These are ‘solo’ versions of some of the birds’ favourite ingredients from bird seed mixes. You can try different foods to find out what your birds like most – and even concoct your own mixes!
- Peanuts are full of protein, fibre and oils,
- Sunflower hearts have the highest energy content per weight of any bird food.
- Niger seeds are irresistible to goldfinches.
- Fat balls, suet pellets and other suet products give your birds an instant energy boost and are a very important part of their diet
- Birds need a lot of energy to thrive, especially in winter or when they are breeding or moulting.
- Dried mealworms and other insect foods provide a delicious source of protein for robins, blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows and other insect-eating birds.
- Insects can also be combined with fat products – for example, in insect suet pellets – for a high-energy treat.
Hanging Seed Feeders:
- Some birds, like blackbirds and sparrows, prefer to feed from the ground or from bird tables, whilst others -- such as tits, finches, nuthatches and woodpeckers -- like to eat from hanging feeders. Some traditional groundfeeders, like the robin, have learned to adapt and now regularly eat from hanging feeders as well!
- Most free-flowing bird seed mixes (such as Farbrook Farm premium wild bird food) can be fed from the ground/bird tables or from a hanging seed feeder, as can straight foods like sunflower hearts and sunflower seeds. Small seed feeders have two feeding ports but larger ones have room for four or more birds to feed at the same time.
- Niger seed, which attracts goldfinches, is a tiny seed, which is too small for a standard, hanging seed feeder and therefore needs to be fed from a special, niger seed feeder
Other hanging feeders:
- Whole Peanuts should always be fed from a special, hanging peanut feeder. These are usually made of wire mesh, that allows birds to peck at the peanuts inside. Never scatter peanuts loose on the ground or on bird tables, as birds and fledglings can choke on them. Suet pellets can also be fed from a peanut feeder,.
- Fat balls can be crumbled and sprinkled on the ground/bird tables but can also be fed from their own, specialised hanging fat ball feeder, to attract tits and finches.
Trouble with squirrels?
- If squirrels or other garden predators, keep attacking your hanging feeders, then you may need to use a ‘squirrel buster’ or caged hanging feeder, which aims to let birds in but keep squirrels out.
How to start:
You will attract plenty of birds to your garden if you regularly provide nutritious, energy-rich food in bird feeders, on the ground or on bird tables:
- Start with a general bird seed mix – such as Farbrook Farm premium wild bird food – and a small seed feeder (such as the seed feeder 9”). Once you have filled the seed feeder, hang it outside, on a tree branch or a hook, that offers some shelter from cats or other predators. You can also sprinkle some seed mix on the ground under the trees, or on the terrace. ?
- Do not give up if the birds do not come flocking immediately – it may take them a while to notice your food but once they have, they will keep coming back.
- Birds need extra energy at various stages of the year -- for example during cold winters or when they are nesting breeding or moulting. Suet products are an excellent source of instant energy, so put some fat balls in a hanging fat ball feeder or crumble one or two on the ground.
- Don’t forget to put out a bowl of water as well – birds need a constant supply of clean water for drinking and bathing.
Once the birds have started to come to your feeders:
- Try experimenting with other foods – softbill mix, peanuts, sunflower hearts and dried mealworms, for example – before deciding what the best range is for you to buy on a regular basis. To help you, we give full details and usage instructions for each of our foods on the individual product pages in the Shop section of the site.
- In general, the greater the variety of bird food you offer, the more species you will attract.
- Now you know the basics, take a look at our section on bird feeding tips, for more essential advice on what to do and what not to do.
- If you find that you have a problem with squirrels or other garden predators, our section on squirrel proofing, should come in very handy.
- And if you spot a bird you don’t recognise – or would like to know more about your regular garden visitors – then our bird finder, fact files are just what you need
Why you should feed your garden birds:
- Compared to humans, birds naturally have a very high body temperature – an average of 41C (106F) when awake. To maintain this temperature and provide them with energy, which they burn very rapidly, small birds have to eat around one third of their body weight in food each day.
- Birds love to eat natural food, but their habitats and food supplies are being adversely affected by environmental changes like intense farming, urbanisation, disappearing hedgerows and pollution.
- Most species of garden birds have, sadly, declined in numbers over the last 40 years or so and need our help to thrive again.
- Experts now recognise that British gardens have become crucial to the survival of many species of wild birds, by providing a habitat and a source of food.
- In winter, birds need to eat a lot of energy-rich food to help them survive the cold but even at other times of the year, they need plenty of energy to get them successfully through crucial stages like breeding, nesting, raising their brood and moulting. If food is scarce, many birds will go without, so that their fledglings can be fed.
It's not just for the birds!
- As well as doing your bit for nature and helping to reverse the declining numbers of many bird species, you will find that feeding your garden birds is also a benefit for you! It is a simple, rewarding and relaxing activity, that provides a welcome escape from the stresses of everyday life. It also ensures that your garden is full of beautiful birds and the sound of birdsong.
- Once you start, you will quickly become hooked, as you recognise the same birds coming back to your garden over and over again. If you are lucky, a tame robin may come right up to you and even eat seed from your hand!
Enjoy your birds!
Get started the easy way with the
'Farbrook Farm Garden Bird Hamper'
Five foods, two feeders plus an
at-a-glance guide. Just click here