Many of us regularly leave out food for birds during the winter. Whether this is kitchen scraps we need to get rid of or specially selected seed mixes to give them an extra boost, helping to conserve bird species in our gardens during the colder months brings us just as much joy as the birds. However, feeding birds in summer is not as common a practice. Many bird lovers will question, ‘should you feed birds in the summer?’ Or when to stop feeding birds in summer?
We’re here to answer all your questions about feeding birds in summer!
Should You Feed Birds In The Summer?
It’s a surprisingly common belief that feeding birds in summer is unnecessary, but this is a myth. You should absolutely feed birds in summer – it’s the time when birds are focused on raising their young, and a few easily accessible food sources wouldn’t go amiss. Contrary to popular belief, this won’t make them lazy or soften their natural instincts; it will simply provide them with a little boost in quieter times.
Natural food sources are harder for birds to come by in winter, so supplemental food is often the only option. However, although plants and insects are abundant in summer, birds will still benefit from a few extra treats to keep themselves and their chicks going through the warmer months.
You don’t have to stop feeding birds in summer. However, naturally, your bird feeders won’t be as busy. So leave out only a little food and replace it often. If there’s a lot of leftover bird food at the end of the day, reduce the amount you leave out to stop the food from going mouldy.[i]
Find out more about when to feed garden birds.
What To Feed Birds In Summer
Although feeding birds in the summer is completely fine, you must leave out the right foods. Not only are birds caring for their young during the warmer months, but they will also be moulting, meaning they will require higher protein foods. Try and leave out foods like:
- Summer bird food mixtures
- Black sunflower seeds
- Soaked sultanas, raisins and currants
- Mild grated cheese
- Soft fruits, such as bananas and grapes
As well as knowing what to feed birds in summer, you must keep your feeders clean. Since food has a higher risk of going rancid in warm weather, ensure that you clean your bird feeders and tables regularly and immediately dispose of mouldy bird food.
What Not To Feed Birds In Summer
There are certain bird favourites that you should avoid putting out in summer, including:
- Peanut butter
- Suet balls
- Fat bars
- Dry hard foods
You should avoid leaving out these foods since, if food shortages occur and birds get desperate, they may take the scraps back to their nest. Some of these foods can be dangerous to chicks, and they may even choke on them. However, it can be hard to determine if a food shortage has occurred in the wild, so it’s best to avoid putting out food that may cause problems throughout the breeding season. So, make sure that you do your research and understand what not to feed wild birds. Leave out soft, safe foods that both birds and chicks can enjoy.
How To Deter Pests When Feeding Birds In Summer
Although we’d encourage you to feed birds in summer, it can be potentially problematic. Your garden may become a source of attraction to a range of pests, including rats, mice and squirrels. To avoid this, you can:
- Check your bird feeders for broken or loose parts
- Only leave out small amounts of food
- Put feeders in a secure outbuilding during the night
- Keep feeders clean and remove any clumps of spoiled seed at once
Other Summer Bird Feeding Tips
Feeding birds in summer is a great way to keep your garden alive with activity, even on colder days. But there are several things you can do to make the hobby easier and more enjoyable for you as well as the birds. Try to:
- Move your feeders to a shady area of the garden to keep birds cool and avoid spoiled seed
- Use open feeders that will dry the seed out quickly if it gets wet
- Position your feeders properly so birds won’t run into your windows
- Include a birdbath in your garden for fresh water – make sure you fill this up regularly!
Start Feeding Birds This Summer!
Feeding birds in summer may not be as vital as feeding birds in winter, but it is still important! By leaving out a bit of chick-friendly food this season, you can help to keep birds going and get to witness them in your garden. So, make sure to leave out the right foods and clean your feeders often for regular feathered friend visits this summer!
Gemma Sharp is the resident writer for Love Garden Birds, a supplier of premium bird food and accessories. She has had a genuine love for our feathered friends from a young age, and has dedicated a lot of her time to learning all there is to know about them. If you’re struggling to pick the right bird feed for your garden, need help identifying a type of wild bird, or can’t decide where to put a nesting box, Gemma is the person to go to! She is passionate about sharing her years of learnt knowledge with the public. In her free time, she can be found feeding birds at home with her three young boys.