Why you should still feed birds in spring and summer

Why you should still feed birds in spring and summer

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With most trees now in near-full leaf, flowers in bloom and hedgerows looking much thicker, you might be forgiven for assuming that it's OK to stop feeding the birds that visit your garden.

Indeed, we know that many of our customers stock up in winter and then ease off in spring and summer. Some websites even advise that it's best to do this during the warmer months because natural food supplies are more plentiful.

However, we would urge British bird-lovers not to follow this recommendation and to carry on offering supplementary nourishment from their bird tables and feeders instead.

Not as bountiful as you might think

That's because, contrary to popular belief, less food is actually available in spring than at other times of the year. That's because winter's supply of berries and seeds have largely gone and new growth hasn't yet had time to come through at a high enough level to sustain bird populations.

This is particularly true in higher-altitude areas, where night frosts are still occurring and buds may not yet have fully emerged.

The arrival of insects and invertebrates can be sporadic too. If especially wet or cold spells return, severe shortages can occur, with flies reduced in numbers and earthworms unable to get to the soil's surface to feed species such as Blackbirds.

Busy times for birds

Another key factor is that springtime is when birds are most active. Many are currently nesting and rearing their first broods of chicks, so taking away supplementary food could result in them struggling to keep their energy levels up.

Others will have just returned from long migrations and so will need to replenish their reserves after sometimes many months on the wing.

Even summer months are a good time to keep your bird feeders stocked up, as some birds will have several broods of chicks to feed and most will be moulting, meaning they need a high-protein diet.

And if you demonstrate that you've got a reliable source of good food in summer, those new fledglings will learn from their parents where to go to get it - something that might prove vital should we get a cold winter.

What to feed and how to provide it

So, we've shown why it's a good idea not to stop feeding birds just because it's warming up - but what types of foods should you go for?

The best answer is to suggest providing a 'buffet cart' of various varieties, as different types of food will cater for a wide array of species.

Live mealworms are protein-rich and suitable for Robins, Blue Tits and House Sparrows that are busy trying to feed a growing family, while sunflower seeds and quality seed mixtures without peanuts will appeal to most garden birds.

Our Hi-Energy No Mess here at CJ will be enjoyed by most species, while our Gourmet Small Bird Mix has been specially designed for little birds.

You can put the latter in an Original Nuttery Feeder if you want to ensure bigger, more gregarious species don't take it, while our range of bird tables includes free-standing versions for rambunctious types like Starlings.

Although spring and summer might seem like bountiful times, you can still do your bit to help British birds and give them the best chance of staying healthy all year round.