Bird feeders

How to feed birds in your garden

Attract birds to your garden

If your garden plants have fruit, berries, hips, seeds and nuts, they'll be a larder for birds, particularly in late summer and autumn. The plants in your garden will also harbour birds' other natural food source - insects and other invertebrates. These are especially important during the breeding season. Supplement what is naturally available with bird food, just remember to keep them clean and in a relatively open area away from predators. 

Bird feeder - Ben Hall/2020VISION

Ben Hall/2020VISION

Five main types of bird food:

  • Straight seeds – as the name suggests, these seeds aren’t mixed with anything. Straight seeds include black sunflower, niger, oil seed rape, peanuts, red and white millet
  • Seed mixes – here the seeds are mixed into different blends, with the main advantage being that a greater mix of seed types attracts a greater mix of bird species
  • Husk-free seed mixes – similar to the above, the seeds in these mixes have had their husks removed and the advantage of this is twofold: much less mess to clear up and birds which can’t crack husks – e.g. Blackbirds – can also eat the mix. Some husk-free mixes also contain other foods like dried mealworms and suet pellets
  • Suet (also called fat) – this foods comes as blocks, balls and pellets. Lots of birds like suet and it provides a vital source of energy for them and particularly in the winter months
  • Live mealworms – a brilliant food to provide in the breeding and fledgling season.

Why not take a look at our illustrated guide to help you make your own bird feeders?

Provide an array of favourite foods and attract birds to your garden all year round


Water is as important as food to most garden birds, and not just for drinking but bathing as well. So put out a bird bath along with your feeders, and always ensure the water is kept clean.