Wild Bird Food – What Should I Be Feeding The Wild Birds In My Garden?

Feeding wild birds is more than just an enjoyable activity. In the cold, dark months when foraging food becomes hard, feeding birds can be the difference between life and death. It helps in rewilding nature to help preserve diverse bird species.

For the autumn months, wild birds need to prepare themselves for the cold weather ahead by building up their reserves of fat. To survive in winter, small birds need to eat 30% to 40% of their body weight daily. During these seasons, bird foods need to be packed with calories. It is best to have high-energy food sources available in your garden to help these wild birds survive the frosty nights.

Do you fancy having diverse species of wild birds in your garden for the autumn and winter season? Then the key is to know the best foods you should be feeding them. We have prepared a list of these to ensure that you are ready to welcome a range of attractive wild birds to your garden!

8 Of The Best Wild Bird Foods:

1. High Quality Seed Mix

One of the standard foods for wild birds is a high quality seed mix. This mostly contain sunflower seeds, kibbled peanuts, faked maize, millet, kibbled oats, or even sultanas and raisins. These are especially attractive to starlings, dunnocks, blackbirds, blue tits, house sparrow, thrushes, robins and collared doves.

2. Nyger Seeds

Tiny and black in colour, these seeds are high in calories and oil. Nyger seeds are loved by goldfinches, siskins and tits. If you would also love to see the rare, tiny, red-patched finch known as lesser redpoll in your garden, why not try feeding these nyger seeds. You won’t regret it!

Chirpy Wild Bird Mix
Nyjer Nibbles

3. Sunflower Seeds

A particular favourite of greenfinches, sunflower seeds are known to have high energy and oil content. These seeds can usually be fed all-year round and are highly attractive to a range of wild birds.

4. Sunflower Hearts

Usually hung from bird feeders or nearby tree branches, sunflower hearts are a favourite of blue tits, coal tits, great tits, greenfinches and chaffinches. This food is high in energy, rich in oil and protein. Quick and easy-to-eat, some birds like the house sparrows, dunnocks and robins gather under the sunflower hearts to eat the seeds that fall to the ground.

Tom Chambers Scrummy Sunflower Heart
Tom Chambers Simply Sunflower

5. Peanuts

Popular with the tit family, greenfinches, house sparrow, nuthatches and siskins, peanuts may be the perfect for choice for you as it attracts diverse birds. Peanuts are one of the standard wild bird foods which are rich in fat.

6. Live Foods and Mealworms

Looking for a scrumptious treat for your visitor birds to delight in? Then try out the energy-rich meal worms which are also rich in proteins. These are a favourite of robins, blackbirds, blue tits, thrushes and robins. These live foods may be bought live or frozen dried and may include meal worms (the larvae of the Four Beetle), wax worms (the larvae of the Wax Moth) and earthworms.

robin eating wild bird food at a bird feeder.

7. Fat Balls

Fat-based foods like fat balls, bird cake and food bars are perfect for the winter to store up the energy needed for birds. Woodpeckers, tits and starling are often attracted to these tempting morsels, especially when served with their peanut favourites!

8. Berries and Fresh Fruit

If you want a hassle-free and natural way to feed birds during the winter, then why not start planting now? Ivy offers late-ripening berries for the colder months. Its evergreen leaves also serve as nest for hibernating insects which birds search for foods. Windfall apples and other hard fruits will also be appreciated by blackbirds, fieldfares and redwings. You can also choose a range of ornamental shrubs which provide berries into early winter. Nectar from early or late-flowering mahonia is a great energy booster for small birds such as blue tits or blackcaps. Other smaller species of wild birds would also delight to feed on the autumn seed heads of faded perennials, ornamental grasses or even common garden weeds. No matter what you choose to plant, just keep in mind that variety welcomes diversity!

Ready to try these wide range of bird foods for the autumn and winter season? Start planning and designing your garden to make it a bird-friendly habitat to which diverse wild birds will flock! Read more about this in our blog here. Interested in learning about the benefits of a wild bird presence in your garden? Read our blog on the topic here.

If you have questions on the perfect wild bird food choice for your garden, contact your local store where one of our helpful and knowledgeable staff will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.