If you want a bird feeder which will both attract local wildlife and keep the birds healthy, consider feeding mixes or straight foods which do not have a high wheat content. Although these are cheaper most of the small bird species don’t really eat the wheat and leave it to larger birds like pigeons, meaning a lot of it is wasted. Sometimes it is better to buy individual items to mix yourself (or even on their own without mixing).
Birds can be fed through the summer to help them maintain their condition and rear multiple clutches of chicks.
As autumn approaches it is important to keep the birds fed well to ensure they thrive through the winter, and that this year’s chicks have the best chance of making it through the winter to breed next year. The RSPB is giving considerable attention to sparrows as their numbers are on the decline in the UK. Sparrow chicks’ digestive systems are sometimes not developed enough to cope with a diet of fruit and seeds (especially later clutches). As the insects which they rely on decrease towards the colder months you can supplement them with suet pellets – some of which contain insects. This is especially important with urban sparrows and may be something you could consider at home during the closed season.
The best bird feed:
Rolled Oats – are rich in protein and fats
Pinhead Oats- Have had their husks removed and are ground into small pieces to make them easy to eat.
Peanuts- A rich source of oil and protein (make sure they are free of aflatoxin which kills birds) remember not to feed whole peanuts once fledglings are about as they can cause choking.
Hemp seeds – A favourite of tits and nut hatches
Millet seeds- High in starch vitamins and minerals
Nyjer seeds- Rich in oil
Sunflower seeds- Highly nutritious, rich in oil, protein and minerals. These also come in black which have thinner skins and softer flesh and shells.