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Blue Tit feeding off hanging fat ball feeder in direct sunshine

Should bird feeders be used in summer

Its understandable to know if you should continue to use bird feeders over the summer, as garden birds diet can be different to other times of the year.

Bird feeders should be used in summer as they stand to hold their much needed protein and vitamin rich food in - namely feeders for holding nuts and seeds. Birds don't always use feeders so its important to throw feed over the ground, but its vital then to never stop using bird feeders in summertime.

While I go on to tell you to prioritise protein or vitamin rich food over the summer months, you should still be offering them what you do all year round.

Birds need protein rich food in the summer to give them a better chance of survival, so this can be offered up in seed or peanut feeders.

Bird seed types to offer up in seed feeders can be cheap seed mixes, or more specialty black sunflower seeds.

If using suet in fat ball, block or pellet form, then make sure the peanut or seed is its base ingredient.

However, you can experiment by offering garden birds fruit at this time of year, as it can be important, as it is an exciting activity to do.

Fruits contain vitamins, so apples, pears, peaches and even a banana can see success.

And while all this is going on, you must continue to keep your peanut and seed feeder replenished at all times.

Make less use of fat ball or dried mealworms feeders, but that isn't to say you should stop using them all together. Because really who knows how the weather is currently effecting natural food resources.

Feeder SHOULD be used

Absolutely, you should be using your bird feeders in the spring through summertime as birds who use them stand to benefit the most.

Birds who use feeders come dependant on them, so to remove feeders in this time of the year with the risk of food shortage in the wild, there can be consequences.

Feeders should be used in summer but you stand to benefit on concentrating your efforts, with what types of feeders to use.

By that I mean there's really no need to offer mix nutrient foods like seeds only - when in summertime gardens birds mostly crave high in protein foods.

Offering seed mixes in bird seed feeders is a must, while peanuts can be offered but only if taking precautions.

Not always required

As it happens, and while you may be keen to always use your feeders for different bird feed mixes - sometimes they are not needed at all.

Not all common garden birds are capable of using feeders, as they are even reluctant to use a more accessible bird table - so its best to set aside a little bird feed for them.

How to feed bird food without use of feeders is of course catering to common ground feeding birds - such as blackbirds, chaffinches and song thrushes.

And while robins, starlings or sparrows can be seen using the bird feeders, they are in fact ground feeders - so are perfectly capable of going without feeders in summer.

I don't always recommend not going without feeders mind you, as bird feeders tend to be hung up or located in such a way they are in reach of pets, children and predators.

To avoid pets ingesting bird food then it must be offered in a way it can't be accessed, which a bird feeder will offer.

More so, if you have a rodent problem then throwing bird feed over the ground is not going to help with the cause.

Correct bird feeder types only

Let me say I still always make use of my fat ball, seed and peanut feeder - 365 days of the year - but to focus on nut or seed feeders alone can make sure birds get their protein and vitamin intake.

Make use of up to three hanging bird seed feeders then with only the one feeder to hold peanuts or suet in fat balls, pellets or block/cake form.

But what you can do is make sure the suet bird food uses a bird seed or peanut base, as to offer them either one but with a generous amount of fatty content.

Correct bird feeders you must be using in the summer then would primarily be for seeds, but peanuts need to be crushed up if using them.

If you are like me, then there's certainly no harm in offering up all your bird feeders all through the year.

Prioritise protein rich food

Putting aside bird feeders for a moment, there is little other protein or vitamin rich bird feed you can offer them in spring through summer, which they stand to benefit most.

So I would therefore look outside the use of bird feeders while concentrating more are fruits, but not if it means you stop offering garden birds their favourites.

The RSPB have much to say on what kinds of food should be offered in summer:

During the summer months, birds require high protein foods, especially while they are moulting. Only feed selected foods at this time of year. Good hygiene is vital, or feeding may do more harm than good - RSPB

What you can do then is replace one of the brackets on the bird feeding station with a specialty apple bird feeder.

Its used to hold a whole apple to display to any takers, but this apple bird feeder can also be used to offer pears to birds or softer fruits - such as peaches or bananas even.

No fruits should be offered to birds in a bird feeder as it only stands to not be used, but if it is - its far more limited than on a safe open spot in the garden, or under the bird table.

Never stop offering food in feeders

In this time you experiment by offering different kinds of scrap foods, or items taking out of the fruit basket - never stop offering food in bird feeders.

Its imperative you continue to offer mostly bird seeds or peanuts in the summer as a way to always make sure they can top up on important nutrients.

To use crushed peanuts in feeders, or seed based fat balls in feeders - is probably a safe way to guarantee they keep coming back to you garden.

I know the summer months feels like you must do something different to the winter time, but other than offering more seeds or peanuts, there's little else you need to prioritise.

What you can do then is continue to do with what you have always done, but setting out a few more seed feeders can make sure common garden birds don't go without.

Food too avoid in summer

While vitamin and protein rich food is a priority for feeding birds over the summer, allow me to remind you what not to feed them in this time.

Peanuts can be used but its important to not serve them up whole. Only add peanuts to the feeder after you've crushed them up - as birds will feed them to their nestlings which can result in the young ones choking.

That also apples to fatty food, yet bread should never be fed to them at this time.

And that's it really, all of the above mentioned can be a hazard to the nestlings back at the bird box or nest in the wild.

If you feel anything else fits into this choking category that has not be said, then its best to not use it for now.

Remember to top up water

With that all said and done, you are feeding birds in summer mind so what else is important at this time of year... of course a healthy supply of fresh water.

You can reserve a bracket on the bird feeding station if you must to suspend a bird water dispenser - but to offer them an easy to find bird bath may be more effective.

Where there's food there should be water, and while bird baths are used much less, they should come hand in hand.

Locate the bird bath within sight of visiting birds, but to locate it near the food source is sure to help with its use.

Unlike bird feeders, you will need to keep topping up the bird bath with fresh water, more so if in time of a summer drought.

To summarise

You should continue to use bird feeders during the summer months as its an important source of food garden birds come to depend on.

Its possible to prioritise say more bird seed feeders with a nut feeder always made available, as protein rich food with vitamins are needed in the summertime.

Of course, bird feeders don't apply to all birds who come to your garden to feed, so for them you can offer food by throwing it over the lawn or patio.

Feeders to concentrate on over the summer then would be seed and peanut feeders.

But if you are like me, I prefer to continue to use the same bird feeders I use all year round, be it if they are new or old ones in use.

Never stop offering food in feeders as it can be a problem to regular birds who set their sights on it every morning. And while with good intentions, no bird feeders can see birds disappear from your garden all summer.

Bird feeders should be used in summertime then to allow birds to beat any drought, or in case of a cold summer - natural food found in nature can disappear.

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