Feeding the birds in Summer
There’s a longstanding myth that birds don’t need to be fed during the summer. According to the RSPB, this just isn’t true.
In winter, birds sometimes rely completely on the food we leave out for them. Food is scarce and sometimes it’s hidden under snow and ice.
Food is certainly more abundant during summer months. But it’s around this time that our garden birds are raising and feeding their chicks. They then go on to moult. All of this activity requires a lot of energy.
The RSPB recommends feeding birds little and often in the summer as a way to help them and their young through this busy period. When it comes to feeding your birds in summer, here are a few foods to provide and a few you should avoid:
Foods to Provide
Lots of birds, including robins and thrushes, will make a beeline for mealworms. They’re packed with protein and moisture and provide the perfect food for growing chicks. You can buy live mealworms or dried mealworms. If you choose the latter, you’ll need to soak them in water before putting them out for the birds.
Fruits like raisins, sultanas, apples and pears are a great source of energy for birds, especially when they’re going a little soft. You can halve fruit and leave it on the ground or the bird table. Properly rotten fruit is unlikely to attract them, however.
High quality summer seed mixes provide a range of nutrients for your garden birds. Sunflower seeds are a favourite amongst many birds. They provide lots of protein and unsaturated fats. Niger seeds, which have a high oil content, are also popular, particularly amongst finches.
Foods to Avoid
Homemade fat balls can quickly melt and turn bad in the heat of a summer’s day. So whilst fat balls and other fatty foods are invaluable in winter months, they’re best avoided in summer.
Birds love unsalted peanuts. They are rich in fat, very tasty and popular with tits, finches and nuthatches. But at this time of year they should always be chopped finely or crushed. Parents may try to feed whole peanuts to their young, who may then choke whilst trying to eat them.
When feeding the birds in summer, provide a rich and varied diet. Don’t allow bird food to go bad. And avoid any foods that could cause harm to young birds still in the nest.
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