It’s a myth that birds don’t need feeding in the summer months. Although winter is probably the most important month to give birds a helping hand, food shortages can occur at any time of year. However, there are some seasonal differences to what they need. So, what do garden birds eat in the summer?
Natural diets of garden birds
Our garden friends will be busy searching for food sources such as earthworms, caterpillars, or naturally-occurring seeds. However, these supplies can be heavily impacted by the weather. Too wet and the levels of certain insects can plummet, too dry and the ground might be too hard to access enough worms. This is particularly challenging when feeding all those extra mouths including this year’s juveniles.
What to feed birds in the summer
Birds need high protein levels in the summer months, especially when they are moulting. Speak to your local pet shop about the types of bird feed they have in stock – many will have summer mixes which are ideal and often contain things like sunflower hearts and niger seeds. Mealworms are another option, but make sure you read our tips here.
Winter feeds are higher in fat, and not as suitable for the summer weather. Home-made fat balls in particular can turn rancid in the heat and while commercial options will be better, these will still need replacing regularly. In general, it is better to steer away from high fat products until we head back into winter. It’s also good to avoid feeding bread or peanuts as these aren’t great for any late nestlings and can pose a choking risk.
Why feed birds during the summer months?
Supporting our wildlife through food shortages is rewarding in itself. However, there are other benefits too! Given that the summer days are longer, there’s plenty of opportunity for a bit of bird-watching after work or school. Plus, plumage is often brighter during the summer season which can make birds easier to spot and identify.
Other tips for how to feed birds in the summer
- Consider moving feeders into the shade to help keep garden birds cool while they feed.
- Continue to clean feeders regularly to help reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
- Opt for some bird-friendly plants to increase their natural food sources.
Now you know all about what garden birds eat in the summer. What about at other times of year? Read more about bird food here.