So just like in winter, summer feeding is essential and cool.
The RSPB, BTO and The Wildlife Trusts all encourage summer bird feeding as does Bill Oddie:
"It is an old question, but it still gets asked: ‘When should I feed the birds?’
The answer is “always”. ‘Even in summer?’ Especially in summer. Summer is when there are most hungry mouths to feed. Youngsters who can barely fly, let alone be nimble enough to catch insects or to compete with the adults at the table or the feeder. What’s more, many of those adults will be parents who would really welcome some easy eating after the hectic job of bringing up a family. Added to which, there will be some pairs who are rearing a second brood and are burning up energy having to find food for both their offspring and for themselves. All of which means, don’t stop feeding in summer, feed more!"
We're often asked if there are different bird foods for summer. Generally, you can continue feeding the wild bird food that's worked throughout winter and spring - few, for example, would consider suet a summer feed; however, it's indeed perfect as it's soft, nutritious and bursting with calories.
If you'd like to try something different, though, we have five high-energy products that should be on your shopping list this summer:
Haith's SuperClean Sunflower Hearts provide high calorific value and are universally well-known for keeping bird feeding simple yet effective. The sheer amount of birds they appeal to is sensational, which is why they feature in many of our high-energy bird foods.
Dried Mealworms provide protein and can be mixed with soft foods, seed mixes or fed on their own. However, we do recommend soaking them prior to feeding during the breeding season to re-introduce moisture for baby birds.
Peanuts are high in oils and calories and remain one of the simplest ways to feed your garden birds. Rich in fat, they are popular with greenfinches, nuthatches, siskins, and tits. A word of caution though, poor quality peanuts can potentially be high in aflatoxin which is harmful to birds, so always buy your peanuts from a reputable supplier.
Niger seed is a very fine, fast flowing oil-rich seed and is loved by Goldfinches and Siskins. It does have to be fed from a special Niger feeder as it is just too thin for normal tubular seed feeders.
Blackbirds, in particular, enjoy slightly soft fruit like apples and pears. Dried fruit such as raisins and sultanas can be fed on the ground or on a bird table. These can also be mixed in with seed to make a super nutritious meal for robins and other Softbills. They do come with a warning though, raisins and sultanas can be harmful to dogs if eaten so please be careful where you put them in your garden.
Birds appreciate our help all year round and although in summer they won’t take huge amounts of extra food due to their natural food being around, what you feed during the summer will help them to survive the leaner months ahead.