#askUpCountry: What should I feed the birds in my garden?

#askUpCountry: What should I feed the birds in my garden?

As spring approaches, you’ll begin to see more wildlife returning to your garden. You can encourage even more if you look after and feed your visitors! While the months are still cold, birds may return to your garden but find it harder to forage for food, so it’s good to give them a little helping hand. But what should you feed them? We’ve compiled a guide to help you out!

In the wild, a birds core diet consists of insects, earthworms, caterpillars, snails, spiders, berries, fruits and seeds. This is a varied and natural diet however it can be harder for them to find throughout the winter months, as trees aren’t producing fruit and the ground is frozen, making finding worms much harder.

What should I feed them?

Blackbirds –

  • Mealworms
  • Flaked maize
  • Uncooked oats
  • Fatballs
  • Waxworms
  • Dog food
  • Breakfast cereal (in small quantities)

Robins –

  • Suet
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Sunflower hearts
  • Raisins
  • Grated mild cheese
  • Mealworms

Starlings –

  • Household scraps
  • Dog food
  • Suet
  • Figs
  • Cooked root veg
  • Dandelion leaves
  • Tinned beans, corn or peas

Blue Tit –

  • Pollen, nectar and sap
  • Sunflower hearts
  • High energy seed
  • Peanuts
  • Suet


What NOT to feed the birds

While it is great to feed the birds, there are somethings you should definitely avoid leaving out if you want your birds happy and healthy! Foods to avoid are:

  • Seed mixtures containing split peas, lentils or beans as small birds cannot eat these.
  • Leftover cooking fat.
  • Polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils as this destroys the waterproofing and insulation of their wings.
  • Dry biscuits as they can choke on hard lumps.
  • Milk as it causes stomach upsets.
  • Desiccated coconut swells in the birds stomach.
  • Mouldy food can cause respiratory infections and stale food causes food poisoning.
  • Avocado can be poisonous to birds.
  • Raw meat
  • Salty foods
  • House plants
  • Chocolate
  • Rhubarb leaves


Read more about Sussex’s wild birds here.

Take the quiz to see what type of wild bird you are!