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GardenSMART :: Summertime Bird Feed Choices For Your Backyard Feathered Friends

Summertime Bird Feed Choices For Your Backyard Feathered Friends

By Cole's Wild Bird Products, Co.
Photographs courtesy of Cole's Wild Bird Products, Co.

Summer is an ideal time to feed your feathered friends. The long days will give you more time to watch for birds at the feeder and catch a glimpse of newly born nestlings just learning to visit feeders. Birds are in their breeding plumage too, so you'll see bright-colored markings, making species identification easy.

During the summer months, many birds also eat fruits and insects in addition to favored seeds, offering a wider range of choices at the feeder, which will attract more bird species.

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The best foods to offer during the summer include:

Seed: All varieties of birdseed are suitable for summer fare, but black oil sunflower is the number one choice of almost all seed-eating songbirds. Oil Sunflower is the highest-grade black oil sunflower out there. It's over 99% pure and cleaned four times to ensure that you get more seed and fewer sticks. Plus it's positively chock full of oil. You want as much oil in your sunflower as you can get because that's what attracts the birds. High-grade, high-oil sunflower means more birds at your bird feeder.

Niger seed: Niger seed is a favorite of beautiful wild finches like the American goldfinch. This special seed is a great source of energy due to its high oil content. When served straight, it is best used in a specifically designed tubular feeder, like Cole's Nifty Niger feeder, with small holes where it can be economically dispensed. Niger seed can also be mixed with sunflower chips or hearts.

Coles Wild Bird Products, Co. offers a wide variety of seed to attract different species of birds as well as the greatest numbers of birds. Cole's Special Feeder is a unique mix, providing a high-energy treat for many birds. It's also Cole's most popular blend because it attracts a greater number of wild birds than any other mix.

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Fresh Fruit: Songbirds love fruit. Offer fresh banana slices, apple wedges and orange halves to attract summer tanagers, orioles, northern cardinals and other colorful species. Fruit can be offered in a platform feeder, a suet cage or try the Bountiful Bowl feeder which is compact and comes with an adjustable dome cover that can be raised or lowered to prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to the food as well as help protect the food from inclement weather. The Bountiful Bowl Feeder is a great starter feeder because it is the easiest to fill and hang. It holds any seed or suet product, fresh fruit and even jelly, too!

Jelly: Just like fresh fruit, jelly is a sweet treat for the birds. Apple and grape jellies attract woodpeckers, American robins and orioles. Just check to be sure the birds have eaten it so it doesn't melt and get moldy in the summertime heat.

Dried Mealworms: Insect-eating birds will appreciate dried mealworms at backyard feeders, particularly when they need to feed hungry nestlings with dozens of insects each day. Dried mealworms are easier to feed and less messy than live mealworms. These energy packed morsels are Mother Nature's perfect treat for all your insect-loving songbirds and you can add them to any seed mix too.

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Suet: Suet is no longer just for winter-feeding. Try no-melt suet cakes or specialty suet, like Suet Kibbles, that won't melt in summer's heat and will attract woodpeckers, chickadees, and jays. Kibbles are also a great source of energy during busy summer days of caring for hungry nestlings. Suet can also be crumbled and chopped and offered in a dish, bowl feeder or the traditional suet cage.

Nectar: Summer is a great time to feed hummers! Hummingbirds are the most popular types of birds that enjoy nectar, but orioles, woodpeckers, and nuthatches have also been known to sip some nectar at feeders in the summer. Cole's High Rise Hummer Feeder comes with a built-in ant moat, which stops ants from invading the feeder and spoiling the nectar. It's super easy to fill and dishwasher safe – just mix and fill with one part sugar to four parts warm water and you're done! Your backyard is now the place for extraordinary hummers to be and be seen.

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Peanuts: Whole peanuts are popular with jays, chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches, and can be offered in platform feeders, the Bountiful Bowl feeder, or even in small dishes. Small bits of peanuts can also be added to seed mixes. Avoid any flavored or coated peanuts, which are unsafe for wild birds.

Be sure to keep your feeders clean and place them in a protected spot so birds feel safe. Birds will benefit from a water source in your backyard for bathing and drinking, too.

Filling your backyard with the right feed for birds in summertime will ensure your close-up and continuous bird watching enjoyment! For more information on bird feed and feeders, please visit:


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