You might think that birds don’t need feeding as we get closer to Spring & Summer, but this isn’t the case. Birds need high-energy foods now and throughout the year. High-energy foods are important in all seasons including Spring (fledgling season), Summer (moulting season) and Winter (when they are trying to survive).
Some people still think that bird feeding should only happen during periods of severe frost or if there is snow. However, in Britain it is well known that feeding throughout the year is beneficial and has been for over 20 years. Factors like climate change and the disappearance of natural food sources has meant that your garden birds rely on your more now than ever.
It is important to remember that your garden birds won’t only eat from your bird table. If you feed them good quality food they will visit and spend time there but they never lose the ability, or desire to forage for their own foods. It is wrong to think that by putting out food you are stopping them from finding their own natural sources of food, you’re not you are simply helping them with additional nutrients.
It is important to give them a varied diet that can compliment the food they may forage themselves. As part of this diet high-energy foods are very important.
Unlike most of us, calories are extremely important for Garden birds. The higher the fat, protein and calorie content the better. Garden birds use a lot of energy throughout their daily lives. Food that is rich in fats and oils will contain the high-energy levels that they need to breed, survive and thrive in your garden, throughout the year.
Feeding your garden birds in Spring — why they need high-energy mixes?
Spring is an energetic time for your garden birds. They will be busy getting ready for the nesting season. Adult garden birds spend a lot of time finding a mate, nest building, egg laying and feeding the young at this time of year. It is all energy consuming activities!
Natural food supplies are not a easy to come by as they used to be, birds are unable to find rich food content from their foraging efforts so supplementing their diets is perfect. Providing extra food allows your adult garden birds to feed themselves, eat natural food whilst concentrating on nesting. It enables them to feed their young quicker and faster from your feeder rather than spending all their time trying to find caterpillars and grubs.
High-energy foods will help birds recover quicker from the winter and build their strength back up which can make all the difference to making it out the other side in Summer.
What are high-energy foods?
High-energy foods include Sunflower Hearts, Peanuts, Suet, Hempseed and fruit which is why you’ll find them in all our mixes.
Sunflower Hearts are featured in each of our mixes and this is because they produce a lot of energy and calorific value to your garden birds. They are also a fantastic source of protein & rich in minerals and vitamins that birds need for muscle development, colouful feathers and putting on necessary weight to get through harsh challenges.
Peanuts have a great energy and calorie value. Peanuts have around 560KCAL per 100g which is fantastic for your garden birds. They offer a nutritious snack for a variety of wildlife and are the closest food to a bird’s natural diet. We also use suet with peanut flour that again further increases the energy levels for your birds and helps them throughout the year. In the spring & summer is important to only use kibbled peanuts if you are putting them out as straights so that fledglings don’t choke. Our Nest & Fledge mix is made up of small, non-choking and high-energy foods that are perfect to add to your feeders.
Suet is made from fat. Along with protein and carbohydrates, fat plays an important role as one of the three dietary sources of calories. Fats are concentrated forms of energy and, per unit weight, provide more than twice the caloric energy as protein or carbohydrates of equivalent weight.
Fats are a source of productive energy as well as essential fatty acids and serve many crucial functions regarding growth and overall health. Fats also carry fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K — many having antioxidant properties. Our suet has added mealworms, blackcurrants and peanut flour to further add to these energy levels.
Hempseed is a fantastic energy source, it is rich in oil and protein and is high in fat, carbohydrate and essential fatty and amino acids. It has very good weight gaining properties for garden birds and is ideal for feeding during the breeding season. We add hempseed to your Nest and Fledge mix and our Spring Summer mix.
Fruit is a brilliant source of high-energy and other natural vitamins. Diced apple in particular is high in energy, full of essential sugars and minerals.
Our mixes — energy levels
We know how important it is for birds to have high-energy foods throughout the year, that’s why we developed an energy level rating that shows you which mixes have the highest levels of energy. It is a simple 1 to 6 bar at the back of our seed mixes but it helps to provide you with the information you need when sourcing your food.
All our mixes are full of nutritious foods and no wheat or filler, so they have a much higher proportion of the right foods, energy levels and vitamins than many of bird foods on the market.
In particular our Signature Seed mix is full of seeds which have a high-energy value including Sunflower Hearts, Perilla Seeds, Safflower and Nyger seeds. Similarly, the Robin & Friends mix is a great mix for your garden birds with added suet, 20% high-energy fruits & sunflower hearts!
How to make your own?
You can make your own fat cakes which can help to add more fat and calories to your garden bird offering. They are not that hard to make, you simply need to purchase lard and add in a good quality seed mix or even things like mealworms. You can check out our tips on how to make fat cakes on our recent blog post.
What else they need
Other than high-energy foods your Garden Birds need your support throughout the year, you can help them in a few different ways:
- Adding a bird bath to your garden — it needn’t be an expensive one but can really help them in all seasons.
- Adding nesting material to your garden during the start of spring
- Adding nest boxes to your garden
- Helping entice other wildlife like bees, bugs & butterflies — your garden is an eco-system and that is a wonderful thing!