The range of wild birds that come flocking to our gardens is enormous and despite what some may think, they do not all eat the same foods. Each bird has different nutritional requirements and feeding styles based on elements such as: size, weather, season, habitats, and life-stage. Birds are also very selective feeders; they know what they want and will throw other seeds out of the way in order to find the food they desire. The type of food available is one of the main factors in how a bird chooses its habitat.
Find out more about some of the most common species of wild birds and their feeding habits from our educational factsheet. Download here.
At different times of the year, wild birds will go through a multitude of conditions which can be a strain on their energy. With SPRING, there comes the beginning of the breeding and nesting season. Building nests, incubating eggs and feeding young chicks can all take their toll. During this period, it is important to put out foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates.
As the weather begins to warm up in the SUMMER there seems to be more natural food readily available to our wild birds. However, many insects such as worms begin to bury deeper into the ground. Making it hard for many birds to find them. Foods that are high in proteins are best fed throughout the summer.
In AUTUMN, the birds’ have to face their next challenge – the Autumn Moult. This is the process of shedding and growing new feathers. Foods that are high in energy are best fed during this time.
Once the birds have got through the moult, the ground then begins to freeze over as the WINTER sets in. A shortage of natural food including, insects and berries makes it difficult for our wild birds to get the nutritional requirements they need to survive. They require fat for energy and insulation against the cold, and they also need protein to keep their muscles in good working order.
PFMA members produce species-specific blends, as well as seasonal blends and standard blends that are suitable for most types of garden bird. However, it is important to make sure that the blend is suitable for the species of bird that is visiting your garden or the species that you are looking to attract. Suet-based and other high-fat products are perfect for high-energy requirements and can be used to supplement the diet. These feeds are great for ensuring birds can get as much energy as possible. By putting out a variety of seed mixes and treats, you will be helping the birds get as many nutrients as they possibly can to help them thrive. However, it is important when choosing a seed blend, to make sure that the seed is clean and fresh.