We get the occasional customer who visits us asks "what is the best mixed seed to give my garden birds?."
It's always a tricky question to answer to be honest and, one which doesn't sit comfortably with me for fear of recommending a mix which - once purchased - doesn't get consumed as well as my customer would expect.
I can give a general explanation about various seed mixes and how some species of wild birds will prefer as certain seed over another but, it really is down to your location and what your birds prefer in that area. Ultimately, the best advice I can give is to try different seed mixes to see which goes best in your locatity; or ask a neighbour what they feed and that should give you some ideas.
If you're new to feeding the birds then purchase a small packet initially and see how it goes, and what birds it attracts. But do remember -
the cheaper a packet of mixed seed the cheaper the ingredients. A general seed mix which contains a high percentage of wheat will be discarded by the small birds and will attract large birds such as pigeons and doves etc. (We're personally not adversed to feeding pigeons and doves but some people are as they tend to gobble all the seed up in one go!). Good quality ingredients include sunflower hearts, black sunflower seed, oats, crushed peanuts and mealworms - all guaranteed to attract a higher number of smaller species.
Also consider how you intend to feed and which birds you want to encourage. If you're looking to use a bird feeder (tube feeder) then you'll need a feeder mix which won't stick in the tube itself, so be sure to ask advice or refer to any packaging details. For softbill birds such as blackbirds, robins and thrushes etc you'll need a blend of seeds specifically for these birds which include rolled oats, sunflower hearts, flaked maize etc. (A great addition to any seed mix for softbill birds are mealworms and suet pellets!). Pretty much any food can be fed from a bird table or on the ground - but be sure to offer peanuts from a dedicated peanut feeder, especially during the breeding season (spring/summer) as these can choke young birds!
Feeding wild birds can be fun, interesting and hugely beneficial to local wildlife. So give it a try, experiment and enjoy - not many pastimes are so rewarding as feeding garden birds. Oh...and did I mention it's healthy, too?! It can lower your blood pressure and give you a sense of wellbeing ;-)
Hi. I'm Phil Stokes and I'll be blogging on here about what's new and happening at Gala Wildlife. Come back for updates.