Traditionally it has always been a thing that in the Winter we all rush out and start feeding our birds, they don’t have access to food and they need us. This is all correct and Winter feeding is really important, but it doesn’t mean that we should let the feeders run dry in the Summer. Our garden birds need us in the summer too.
Over recent years evidence has shown that actually garden birds need support in the summer. Here in the UK, we could once rely on the weather to be pretty even in the Summer and for natural food supplies to be available for our garden birds, but this isn’t the case anymore.
Food shortages happen at a range of different times and due to different weather conditions. Weather extremes like the beast from the east and the late Spring natural food is not always in abundance.
Following the spring and early summer breeding season, there are millions more hungry mouths to feed. Nesting parents will have to work hard to feed their young while maintaining their own energy levels. They may have to cope with the dry weather when earthworms burrow deep beneath the surface; or in wet weather, when foraging is difficult.
At the moment (July 2018), ground food is really difficult to get at, the soil is extremely dry and worms are coming up to the surface. Birds are unable to get to food and insects because they are unable to break through the soil.
During the Summer months, it is really important to put food out to support them. Fledgelings are appearing in sometimes difficult conditions and your support can make a difference.
WHAT SHOULD I BE FEEDING THE GARDEN BIRDS IN SUMMER?
- Sunflower Hearts — Try adding sunflower hearts to the garden bird tables. These seeds are great for a range of different birds because they don’t have a hard shell to try and crack open. They are also a cleaner alternative to whole sunflower seeds, as the birds don’t have any seed coats to discard.
- Mealworms — are the perfect summer dietary supplement. They are full of protein and fats that the birds need. They also mimic a more natural diet for insect-eating birds and even seed-eaters will eat them during the summer months.
- Leftovers — adding leftovers is also a great way to support birds. Add apples to the garden or other fruits, you could use a feeder like the one from Green and Blue which will help you to add them to your garden. Leave on the ground for ground-feeding birds, or suspend from a tree for others. When adding leftovers outside make sure that they are unsalted and don’t just add bread!
- Summer Seed Mixes — Try mixes that are specialist for this time of year. Like our Spring & Summer mix which has a variety of different seeds to support garden birds including Sunflower Hearts and Safflower. You can also pick up a ground-feeding mix that has mealworms and kibbled peanuts.
- Peanuts — peanuts are a good source of fat and carbs. Make sure if you are adding them to your feeders at this time of year they are either kibbled or in peanut feeders to avoid baby birds choking on them. Some parent birds will still be continuing with broods even as late as this.
It is also important in the summer months to keep the bird baths topped up with fresh, clean water for the birds to drink from and bathe to cool down. If you want some tips on making your own bird bath check out our bird bath blog here