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Wild Birds can be fed all year round as they increasingly become more dependent on garden feeders, but they especially need more food in the colder months when natural resources are in short supply. You can only attract birds that are in the local habitat, but when you put out different foods you may be surprised which birds turn up.

Peanuts

These are a high energy source for many birds. Only use peanuts specifically sold for wild birds. Salted peanuts cause dehydration. Only use wire mesh type feeder as birds should not be able to take whole nuts which they may feed to their young in the breeding season, causing choking.

Peanuts attract members if the tit family including long-talied tits and coal tits, greenfinches, woodpeckers, nuthatches and siskins.

Fat

Fat is a high energy food especially good for helping birds to survive the worst of the winter. The RSPB recommends that fat isnt offered in the breeding season as this may be unsuitable for young birds. For the same reason bread is unsuitable at this time of year. After the breeding season and in the summer fat and peanuts will help birds cope with their moult.

Suet is made from beef and lamb fat and can be used on its own or with seeds, cereals, insects and berries mixed in. Homemade fat/suet balls tend not to last as long in the summer as commercially available products.

Attract tits, finches, sparrows, nuthatches, starlings, whitethroats, willow warblers.

Seed

There are various bird seed mixes. Some will attract different birds and some are more suitable for bird tables, ground feeders or seed feeders.

Good mixes contain sunflower seeds, millet, flaked maize and peanut granules. Smaller seeds attract the smaller birds. Thrushes like the flaked maize. Using a seed feeder results in less waste and less mess.

Great tits, Blue tits, Coal tits, Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow), Greenfinches and Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Sparrows are all attracted to seeds.

Niger, Nyger (Thistle) seed

A small black seed that Golfinches and Siskins especially like, You will need a non-mesh feeder for these as the seeds are so small. Mealworms, Waxworms Mealworms can be bought live or dried. Waxworms are from the Wax moth. Many people will not be happy handling these, but birds that live on live food will love them.

Robins, Wrens, Blackbirds, Tits, Woodpeckers, Thrushes, Bullfinches, Treecreepers, Pied Wagtails

Results of 2010 Garden Bird Survey by the RSPB - click here