The best bird food for your garden

Everything a wild bird could need, from fat balls to sunflower hearts...

bird tits on bird feeder with peanuts inside

by Ruby Barry |

There's nothing better than opening your windows in the morning and hearing the sweet sound of bird song. As summer approaches, and the weather gets (fingers crossed) warmer, we can appreciate our outdoor space a little more. So, why not bring some wildlife into your garden? It can be your very own little nature park if you wish. Birds can bring joy and energy to any space, and to get them there you'll only need one thing - bird food.

Revamping a garden after a harsh British winter can be a bit of a daunting task, but with some bird food, like fat balls or tasty sunflower seeds, birds will flock - and so will the sense of new life and new beginnings. But there are a lot of types of bird food to choose from to stock up your bird feeder. Which food is best for which bird species? How can I get a bang for my buck and save big to feed my fluttery friends? We've got all you'll need here.

What bird food is best for which bird type?

Here is a quick rundown of what you need to know about your favourite bird's go-to snack. Most birds will eat most food (much like we humans will eat most crisps) but if you are set on attracting a particular species, you may want to take a look. Everything we've got listed here is below for you to buy.

The best bird food

Mixed birdseed is ideal for...

Blackbirds, Blackcaps, Blue Tits, Bullfinches, Buntings, Chaffinches, Coal Tits, Collared Doves, Dunnocks, Goldfinches, Great Tits, Greenfinches, House Sparrows, Long Tailed Tits, Nuthatches, Pigeons, Robins, Siskins, Song Thrushes, Starlings, Tree Creepers, Tree Sparrows, Warblers, Waxwings, Woodpeckers and Wrens.

Happy Little Bird Wild Bird Seed 12.55kg

The best value bird food
Happy Little Bird Wild Bird Seed 12.55kg

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pets at home

This mega bag of wild birdseed will last you all summer, even with the greediest of birds (we're looking at you pigeons, your reputation precedes you...) This seed mixture is so diverse, that it will attract a large variety of birds. What's more, the amazing price point means that you are getting each whole kilo of birdseed for only 60p. Bargain.

Review: "I buy this feed as it satisfies all the different birds that visit my feeders. There can be a lot of wheat left, but the pigeons help clear that. Good value bird feed."

Fat balls are ideal for...

Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Sparrows, Starlings, Blackbirds, Black Caps, Dunnocks, Robins, Chaffinches and Song Thrushes.

Peckish Natural Balance Energy Suet Fat Balls for Wild Birds, 50 Tub

The best fat balls for birds
Peckish Natural Balance Energy Suet Fat Balls for Wild Birds, 50 Tub
Amazon

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Fat balls are great because they are a low-mess option that attracts shyer birds in the UK such as Black Caps and Robins. These Peckish Suet Fat Balls are made out of 100 per cent natural ingredients, and actively help to keep wild birds healthier. For example, the Carotenoids included help develop feather colour, protecting them from sunlight damage. Again, this package of bird food comes at a great value, as each fat ball rounds up to approx. 12p each.

Review: "Great value compared to garden centres and supermarkets and these have been really popular with the starlings, robins, blackbirds and even the magpies in my garden as well as the many species of tit that visit. They are slightly smaller than the fat balls I've bought from B&Q but I actually prefer this as they fit into the fat ball feeder more easily. They come in a nice sturdy tub for easy storage and the tub could easily be reused for other bird food once it's empty."

Sunflower hearts are ideal for...

Goldfinches, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Collared Doves, Dunnocks, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Greenfinches, House Sparrows, Nuthatches, Robins, Starlings, Thrushes, Siskins, Robins, Jays and Wood Pigeons.

Extra Select Sunflower Hearts Wild Bird Food, 2 kg

The best sunflower hearts for birds
Extra Select Sunflower Hearts Wild Bird Food, 2 kg
Amazon

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Sunflower hearts for birds is like chocolate for humans - they are irresistible to our feathered friends. Choc-full of natural protein, they are a high energy snack that will keep your local birds full and happy all season. We have chosen the 2kg pack here, but there are bags available from 1kg (£3.39) up to 20kg (£42.99), as well as a 5l tub option (£13.89).

Review: "This is very popular bird food, which is readily eaten by most species and is a favourite of Robins and Blackbirds. I get most of the common birds down at the ground feeder taking the seeds away, as well as some of the less common ones if food is scarce. I find it works best from a ground feeder as it rots too quickly in a hanging feeder as those restrict the amount of seed that can be taken at a time and so supplies hang around for longer in bad weather. This bag contains pure food with none of the sunflower husks to bulk out the contents or create a mess when the seed is eaten. It is, therefore, a good value option, particularly when you consider the range of birds it attracts."

Dried mealworms are ideal for...

Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Cardinals, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Bluebirds, Blackbirds, Robins, Wrens, Woodpeckers, Catbirds, Thrashers, Thrushes, Jays, Dunnocks, Sparrows, Pied Wagtails, Grosbeaks and Starlings.

Supa Dried Mealworms for Wild Birds, 3 Litre Bucket

The best high energy bird food
Supa Dried Mealworms for Wild Birds, 3 Litre Bucket
Amazon

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Some people opt for live mealworms to feed wild birds, but for the squeamish among us, dried, non-wriggling mealworms are a good alternative. Dried mealworms provide a nutritious, protein-rich meal for birds, with a whopping 63 per cent crude protein in each worm. During the winter and summer, a bird's energy requirements increase, so this is sure to help them on their journeys. If you're hesitant to try out dried mealworms, Pets at Home have a little 75g bag for only £1.99 you can test out.

Review: "Adding this to my bird feeder almost caused world war three in my back garden as suddenly every bird and squirrel wanted to get a mouth full of them out of my bird feeder. They must be extremely tasty because squirrels and magpies came to blows because they refused to move off the feeder for each other. Squirrels jump on the feeder and cram mouthfuls of them into their face. I've had to up my squirrel defences so that the birds I actually want to have the mealworm can actually get some."

Peanuts are ideal for...

Parakeets, Wrens, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Woodpeckers, Jays, Pheasants, Doves, Jackdaws, Magpies, Greenfinches, Siskins, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Titmouses, Cardinals, Crows, Bramblings, Sparrows, Robins, Blackbirds and Dunnocks.

Happy Beaks Peanuts Wild Bird Food Aflatoxin Tested Feed (12.75kg) Premium Grade Seed

The best peanuts for birds
best-bird-food-Happy-Beaks-Peanuts-Wild-Bird-Food-Aflatoxin-Tested-Feed-(5kg)-Premium-Grade-Seed
Amazon

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Rich in proteins and oils, birds can't resist a peanut. Thankfully, Happy Beaks are here, and nutty about peanuts. The peanuts they provide have been tested for aflatoxin; a potentially fatal chemical that can cause serious damage to the liver and immune systems of wild birds (a lot of other peanut bird food providers won't test for this!). You can, therefore, rest assured that your local flock is getting the best of the best. The bag we've listed here is 12.75kg (approx. £2.50 per kg) but you can also get Happy Beaks' 5kg bag for £17.99 and their 25.5kg bag for £51.99.

Review: "I have bought these peanuts several times and will stick with this company from now on. The quality of the peanuts is high and they are in halves which makes it easier for the birds. I am also confident that they are safe for my feathered friends as they are toxin-free."

Suet natural hangers are ideal for...

Blackbirds, Blackcaps, Blue Tits, Bullfinches, Buntings, Chaffinches, Coal Tits, Collared Doves, Dunnocks, Great Tits, Greenfinches, House Sparrows, Long Tailed Tits, Nuthatches, Pigeons, Robins, Siskins, Song Thrushes, Starlings, Tree Creepers, Tree Sparrows, Waxwings, Woodpeckers and Wrens.

Suet To Go Half Coconut Natural Mealworm Flavour Wild Bird Feeder

The best budget bird food
Suet To Go Half Coconut Natural Mealworm Flavour Wild Bird Feeder

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Constructed from half a coconut shell for a truly all-natural product, this suet feeder contains a three-seed mix which is sure to appeal to many birds. This is a cheap way to stock up your bird feeder or hang around your garden on various trees/twigs. At only 99p, it's a no-brainer solution to attract nature to your doorstep.

Review: "Great value and will not be wasted. My feathered friends soon spotted this hanging in my tree and appear to appreciate it. Attracts a variety of birds including the great ones and blue ones, robins and sparrows, all seen tucking in and enjoying this plus it lasts well I find. Includes handy rope for hanging."

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