Seed or No Seed After Spring?

I have seen a decline in visitors to the feeders over the past month or so. I am thinking most adult birds are looking for grubs and caterpillars to feed their young.

My neighbour said not to put seed out after spring.

Should we still put seed out all year round? What do birds need at the end of spring through summer?

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  • Personally, I don't feed outside of Winter. Depends what you are feeding birds for. If you want to bring them close to the house, or photograph them all year, feeding makes some sense. If you're doing it for conservation, IMO, it's very debatable as to whether it achieves anything. I definitely wouldn't feed fat/suet, whole nuts of peanut butter outside of Winter though. Just my opinion.
  • Makes sense, thanks.

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    I love birding so much I wrote my own blog. It's a great way to learn and share.

    https://birdslife.co.uk

  • No problem. Hopefully you will get other people's views.

  • Hello Stuart, with plenty of natural foods around birds should be able to find enough caterpillars, insects and seed buds, etc., however, I still follow rspb guidelines (rightly or wrongly) supplementing natural found foods throughout the year, particularly concentrating on providing our garden birds with live mealworms which help the smaller garden birds such as tits, robins and wrens whilst feeding their nestlings/fledglings. Live mealworms are full of protein and as close to their natural food source as you can get although are quite expensive to purchase; I do feed a variety of other foods such as sunflower hearts which are popular with the finches all year round. I feed the corvids (Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies, Jays) as well in the hope they predate less chicks in our local area (once again, it could have other implications by attracting them to our garden more and making our smaller birds more vulnerable to predation) but from what I have witnessed I feel that on balance more chicks survive - only personal opinion as I will never know for sure. I do like photographing birds but try to remain objective with feeding and not just do it for totally selfish reasons. We seem to have a huge number of new fledglings in the garden, particularly Blue and Great Tit chicks and I feel that the live mealworms supply has contributed to the number of chicks surviving. Once again, it is debatable whether so many chicks are meant to survive naturally (due to supplementary feeding) but then again if you look at it from natures point of view there is more food source for the Sparrowhawks !!

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Thanks Hazy.
    I might look into live mealworms. We've had a bit of a rat problem of late and my wife isn't keen on the bird feeders staying.

    Not sure rats eat live mealworms so could be the way ahead!

    Stuart

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    I love birding so much I wrote my own blog. It's a great way to learn and share.

    https://birdslife.co.uk

  • Hi Stuart, If you have seen rats then I would be very wary about putting out food of any sort; rats will eat mealworms and also eggs/chicks, etc, so I think in these current circumstances I would suspend all feeding for at least a month or so. Good luck

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Thank you

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    I love birding so much I wrote my own blog. It's a great way to learn and share.

    https://birdslife.co.uk

  • Good afternoon Stuart, In my opinion, you should definitely feed birds in spring and summer as it will give parent birds an easy source of food to feed their chicks and it will help give you a healthy population of juvenile birds in the summer. I put out seed feeders, a suet feeder and a nut feeder year round and I find the results very rewarding. I disagree with Robbo as it can be a beautiful sight in my garden to see a little juvenile greater spotted woodpecker eating from my nut feeder in spring. Also, there is no rule saying you can’t feed birds after spring. Quick question: Do you get many woodpeckers or juvenile birds in your back garden?
  • Ps: if you want to feed the rats, I recommend a dish of water with peas submerged in it. Rats will love fishing peas from the bottom.
  • Thanks Hoopoe3456,

    After seeing a greater spotted woodpecker on the nut feeder, I made a log feeder, hung it in the tree and put up an outdoor camera.

    The woodpecker returned and I got a bit of footage of it tapping away at the log!

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    I love birding so much I wrote my own blog. It's a great way to learn and share.

    https://birdslife.co.uk