Wild birds benefit from being fed year-round but, in the harsher winter months, keeping food resources topped up can be especially rewarding for both them and us.

We all know that our feathered friends love us giving them a helping hand. But what should we be feeding them? And, do different breeds of bird have their own special favourites? Here’s a handy checklist to help you decide what’s best to feed the wild birds in your garden;

Seeds and grains. Niger will attract goldfinches and siskins. Millet and sunflower seeds will attract tits and greenfinches. Our tasty seed mix is perfect for gaining the attention of a variety of different bird breeds.

Peanuts. Choose peanuts that are unsalted, fresh and sold for human consumption or by a reputable feed shop. (Always provide peanuts for your birds in good-quality mesh feeders to protect chicks from being fed whole nuts and choking). Peanuts attract tits, greenfinches, house sparrows, nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and siskins!

Mild grated cheese. Attracts robins, wrens and dunnocks.

Dried fruit (make sure you place these out of reach of pets – grapes, sultanas, raisins and artificial sweeteners are toxic to dogs). Blackbirds, song thrushes and robins love snacking on raisins and sultanas.

Fat balls. Net-free fat or suet balls will attract a wide range of species and offer a fantastic boost of calories over winter.

Fruit. Apples, pears and soft fruits are a great autumn option for blue tits and blackbirds.

Insects. Mealworms will attract robins and blue tits. Or try waxworms to attract treecreepers and wrens. To welcome a variety of species into your garden, our wild bird insect medley is just the thing.

Keep a beady eye out for mould

Part and parcel of caring for birds in the garden is making sure we’re feeding them the healthiest and most suitable products and mixes.

One potential hazard for birds arises around peanuts (and also grains but to a much lesser extent). This is because peanuts are especially prone to a mould called ‘aflatoxin’ which can form when left in damp conditions. If our wild birds (or other animals and humans) eat any of this nasty mould it can lead to food poisoning or even liver failure.

The good news is that any peanuts imported and sold by retailers have to be tested for mould, and those that fail are rejected and destroyed. However, most of us won’t be aware that once peanuts are exposed to outside conditions, this mould can grow if left for long periods. Birds that are especially hungry will then eat these peanuts as they are faced with limited options elsewhere.

How to avoid the risks

The best way to protect wild birds from any risk is to buy a good-quality feed as well as inspecting it for signs of mould. We sell a huge range of the best-quality wild bird food, with the majority of our products holding an impressive 5 star customer rating.

It’s also a good idea to store any feed and nuts in a dry and warm (not hot) place. This will help prevent mould growing and will also make your food last longer. Check your feeder regularly too, and if you can see any mould on the peanuts, get rid of them straight away by throwing in the bin (not on the ground). Always clean your feeder with disinfectant that is pet and animal friendly, so the mould doesn’t make its way back onto the new batch of peanuts. For a full guide on how to keep bird feeders clean, check out our Top Tips for Cleaning Bird Feeders blog.

By following these simple tips you can be sure that you’ll continue to attract healthy and happy birds to your garden all year round.

Shop our full wild bird range online at wilko.com

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