Feeding garden birds was not something I knew a lot about when I started. I could see a few neighbours had feeders and we had a few little ones darting about in our garden. I added a feeder to my garden & they became my Garden Crowd.
A few years on, and now I do know a lot about them. I have spent hours & hours observing their behaviours, watching what they like to eat and years doing food experiments to see what was left or thrown out. That mess under your feeder isn’t mess, it’s the stuff they’ve chucked out. These experiments also taught me which foods made them thrive & how their diet changes through the year.
Through all of this I have been developing a bird seed for my own garden birds that isn’t left or kicked out the feeder, is nutritious and stops the pigeons from sitting in my feeding tray all day! This food is my signature seed mix which I now sell on the Garden Crowd website (who dreamed I would get to this point when I added that feeder?!).
I can safely say that 9 out of 10 garden birds love it, the 10 being our wood pigeons who thankfully are not keen (although we believe in a garden as an eco-system so they are provided for away from the small bird feeder).
Here are a few reasons why the Signature Seed mix is a good bird food and why you should choose it for your Garden Crowd:
Signature Seed is wheat free — it has no flaked or naked wheat, no buckwheat or any other cheap wheat types that you find in other seed mixes. Why don’t I add wheat?
That’s pretty simple, the small birds don’t eat it. Lots of companies will have you believe that wheat is a great staple for birds, but in actual fact it is only really liked by larger ground feeding birds like pigeons, magpies, crows or sparrows that have no other nutritional alternative.
It is a cheap filler and unfortunately a false economy in the long run. You might think it’s a bargain to pick up big sacks of cheap mixes — and I did when I first started feeding them — but actually it is offering little to no nutritional value and just gets left anyway.
Just like being wheat free the signature seed (and all the mixes) are filler free. What do I mean by filler? Split peas, cracked corn, cracked maize, red and white dari seeds & naked flaked oats. Other bird food mixes have up to 40% of this stuff in their food mixes. That’s 40% of the food that birds won’t eat(small birds anyway — if you want to feed the pigeons, crows, magpies and the occasional pheasant then choose this mix).
So in a 12.5kg bag of food, you might end up with 5kg of that food being completely wasted on your small birds. If your 12.5kg of food costs £6. It actually costs more because you’re only getting 7kg that the birds will eat and what is left is of little nutritional value on it’s own.
Nutrition, nutrition and a bit more nutrition!
Nutrition was at the top of my list when thinking about what I wanted to give to my garden birds. In-fact I probably spent more time thinking about the nutritional value of their food than my own!
There are a lot of cheaper bird foods on the market that have little to very little nutritional value. Why is that? Because nutritional seeds are often more expensive. That’s why our mixes are slightly more expensive than others because we choose nutrition over making it cheap.
It’s the same principle as humans, a frozen pizza is much cheaper than making your own but it has a lot less value to your body and full of nasty stuff you probably don’t want to eat.
So what is in the Signature Seed mix and why?
- Sunflower Hearts — these white seeds are loved by a variety of different birds including the nation’s favourites — Robins, Blue Tits and my favourite Nuthatches. They are husk free so they don’t create lots of mess and they are packed with energy and protein that small birds need all year around.
- Kibbled Peanuts — birds love nuts! It was hard to deny them a tasty nut snack in our signature seed mix but nuts are also full of nutrients, fats and help birds to maintain good feathers and body weight.
- Safflower — this is a bit like sunflower hearts and sometimes takes them a little longer to get used to but once they realise it is there it gets munched quickly! Safflower is a seed that has high levels of oils, proteins and is a great energy booster for birds all year around.
- Nyger Seeds — these simple little black seeds which are often overlooked by us are loved by our feathered friends! Particularly fond of this seed are tits, finches and sparrows. It has fantastic health benefits, full of vitamins and is a bird superfood!
- Pinhead Oatmeal — this is a great protein and carb for your garden crowd. It is loved by a variety of birds and offers them lots of oil to boost their feathers, helps them to gain weight during the winter months and is super tasty too!
- Perilla Seed — unique to our Garden Crowd mix Perilla Seed is a fantastic omega 3, 6 & 9 booster. It is a natural seed for birds and helps them gain more colourful feathers, better songs and provides them with lots of nutrients.
- Canary Seed — not just for canaries! This seed, a bit like Oatmeal provides a great amount of carbs and energy for the birds. It is a light coloured seed that the smaller birds love inlcuding blue tits, great tits, finches and robins.
More nutrition for birds means they lead a much healthier life. If they have more nutrition in their diet their feathers grow more colourful, they are able to learn a wider range of songs and they are likely to find healthier partners to create a next generation of birds with!