Birds appreciate being fed throughout the year, but winter is their most difficult time, when they find it hard to find their natural food, such as insects, worms, berries and seeds.

Suitable Food for Garden Birds

Almost any kitchen leftovers can be used. Here are the most useful types of food:-

Bread:
wholemeal bread is best as long as it is crumbled up and moist. Soak very dry bread before offering it to the birds.

Cooked rice, pasta, pastry & potatoes:
these have lots of starch and are appreciated by a variety of birds.

Stale cake & biscuits:
in addition to starch, these contain fat which is an excellent source of energy.

Cheese:
wrens and robins love crumbled or grated cheese.

Fat:
bacon rind, fat trimmed from chops and suet may be cut up into small bits or it can be hung up in a lump.

Bird eating Fruit:
windfalls or bruisedapples and pears are loved by blackbirds and thrushes. Winter visitors such as redwings and fieldfares, from Scandinavia, may be attracted too. Dried fruits e.g. raisins and sultanas, are appreciated too but always soak these first.

Peanuts:
these are rich in fat and attract a host of birds, including the titfamily, greenfinches, house sparrows, nuthatches, siskins and great spotted woodpeckers. Shelled peanuts may be put in wire mesh containers and hung up. Crushed or chopped nuts may be put out for robins and dunnocks (hedge sparrows). A chain of peanuts in their shells can be made by threading them onto string with a darning needle. Never use salted nuts - these cause the birds to dehydrate.

Fresh Coconut:
this is a favourite with tits. First drain off the milk from a whole coconut by drilling two holes in one end, then saw it in half and hang outside. Never give dessicated (dried) coconut to birds as this swells up inside a bird's stomach.

Bird Seed:
most pet shops and garden centres sell specially prepared seed mixes for wild birds. Greenfinches and chaffinches prefer sunflower seeds, whereas dunnocks and other finches prefer smaller seeds, such as canary seed and millet.

For more information see RSPBs page of advice.

Remember...do not feed the following to your garden birds:- salted nuts, dessicated coconut, highly-spiced food, white bread or very dry bread.

Read More: Where to put the food

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