Here is a quick guide on what to feed to attract which birds:

  • Robins – Insects like mealworms
  • Chaffinch – Oily seeds like sunflower seeds
  • Goldfinch/Greenfinch – Niger seeds
  • Tits (Blue/Great/Coal) – Peanuts and sunflower seeds
  • Blackbirds – Seeds, fat balls, mealworms
  • Sparrows – Peanuts, seeds
  • Dunnocks – Mealworms, seeds, peanuts
  • Thrushes – Mealworms, fat balls, seeds
  • Wrens – Mealworms, seeds

General Information

Peanuts needs to be specially bought – those which are not for birds may contain aflatoxin (thought to be harmful to birds).

Fat balls are extremely popular in the winter months.  They can contain lard or beef fat suet, giving plenty of energy in the cold months.  These can be purchased from most garden centres or large stores or why not try making your own at home. Do not use chicken, turkey or vegetable fat as these can be transferred onto the bird’s feathers during preening, clogging feathers and hindering flight.
Sunflower hearts and seeds are another firm favourite but remember black sunflower seeds are better than the stripy ones.  The black seed has a higher fat content so are much better for birds.

Birds also love a range of fresh and dried fruit (please soak your dried fruit first to avoid it expanding in the bird’s stomach).  Raisins and apples are favourites but do be aware that sultanas can be harmful to your dog.

Birds also enjoy other common household foods such as chopped up bacon rinds, cooked unsalted rice (don’t put out uncooked as it swells in the birds crop) and small amounts of mild grated cheese.

Do NOT feed:

  • Bread, especially white bread: it is not a high quality food and will not give them the energy they need to survive
  • Milk can upset their stomachs and make them very poorly, as can mouldy or stale food
  • Salty food can dehydrate birds
  • Desiccated coconut and uncooked rice can swell in crops and stomachs

Once again the RSPB publish a useful guide.

Birdfeeder Guide