Household Leftovers

Bird tables are designed so that almost anything can be placed on them and accessed by the local bird population. Using household leftovers is a great way to feed your local birds without needing to purchase bird seed. It also has the added benefit of reducing your household waste. Fruit is a common bird friendly leftover food source, fruits such as apples, pears and plumbs are perfect for birds due to their high-water content and natural sugars. Birds can also eat breadcrumbs, grated cheese, potatoes and rice, both brown and white is safe for birds to eat.

Foods to avoid

Avoid putting any processed food onto your bird table, anything overly salty like crisps or bacon can be harmful to birds. Also avoid and mouldy or spoiled food as these can be dangerous to birds if consumed. Desiccated coconut and milk can also be harmful to birds so avoid food with these as ingredients.

Bird Seed

There are many different varieties of wild bird food you can purchase online, many of these include a mixture of seeds which are a great source of food for birds in your garden. Sunflower seeds are a great choice as they are full of protein and fats. Sunflower seeds come in two varieties, black and striped. The black sunflower seeds have a higher oil content and are therefore a better source of food for wild birds. Sunflower seeds are usually a hit with birds like greenfinches and tits, you can also harvest these seeds from any sunflowers plants you grow at home.
Nyjer seeds can be placed on your bird table to attract smaller birds. This seed comes from the African yellow daisy, they’re really small in size and a big hit with smaller birds including goldfinch’s and siskins. Usually these seeds are hard to feed as they’re too small to fit in normal bird feeders, making them a great option for the bird tables.
Peanuts can also be used on a bird table but only if they are crushed to the appropriate size, feeding whole peanuts to birds can be a choking hazard. When you’re putting peanuts out, please be aware that they must be plain, not salted or dry roasted. If you are unsure then purchase them from a pet shop or garden centre for peace of mind. Peanuts when crushed can attract a number of birds to your bird table such as, greenfinches, woodpeckers and house sparrows and robins.

Time of year

Birds require different nutrients to keep them in peak condition depending on the time of year, feeding in the autumn and winter differs compared to feeding your garden birds during the spring and summer months. During the colder months’ birds need extra fat and higher sources of energy in order to keep them warm and sustained when food isn’t regularly available. Saturated fats including fat balls, suet and lard, are great for keeping birds warm during the colder periods of the year. If you choose to feed seeds during the winter it’s best pre-crush these seeds before placing them onto your bird table, this reduces the energy required for the birds to eat the seeds on offer.
During the spring and summer months birds can find food more easily in the wild, so you can reduce the food you put out for the birds if you prefer. There are specific summer seed bird mixes which can be purchased online, these are great for providing birds with the specific nutrients they need during the summer months. Black sunflower seeds are a great choice of bird seed to feed all year round as they have a high protein content, during the warmer months it’s fine to leave them in their shells.

Putting bird food out on your bird table is simple and easy way to attract more birds to your garden. Try a mixture of foods and experiment to discover what foods the birds prefer and when they like to feed. Take a look at our selection of bird tables if you’re interested in adding one to your garden, you can also consider adding a bird bath to increase the number of birds that are likely to visit your garden.