Peanuts are high in the oils and proteins needed by birds and have been used for many years. Always buy good quality peanuts from a reputable source and avoid those that show any signs of mould. Peanuts are best supplied behind mesh, so that a bird cannot take a whole peanut away.
Birds: tits, nuthatches, woodpeckers, finches and sparrows.
Bird seed mixes
Seed mixes come in a vast range, differing in content and quality. Cheap mixes often have a high proportion of cereal and attract pigeons. Better quality mixes are lower in cereal content and so are particularly suitable for finches and buntings.
Want to attract more birds to your garden? Buy a great-value 12.75kg (28lb) bag of Choice Robin and Songbird Mix for just £22.99 – and receive a bird feeder worth £6 absolutely free.
Black sunflower seeds
Black sunflower seed was introduced in the early 1990s and revolutionised bird feeding by providing a high-energy food in a readily accessible form.
Birds: they are a favourite of Greenfinches and tits.
Sunflower hearts are more expensive than the black sunflower seeds but they have two advantages. First, the birds can feed more quickly because they do not have to remove the husk. Second, the lack of husk means that there are no unsightly piles of husks left behind on the ground after the birds have fed.
Birds: same as above.
Nyjer seed is a relatively new introduction to the bird feeding market and it is one that has found favour with Goldfinches, which seem to like the small size of these seeds. Because they are so small, nyjer seeds need to be supplied in a specially adapted feeder.
Birds: Goldfinches and birds with delicate bills.
Birds: finches, buntings, pigeons and doves.
Fat balls and fat cakes can be supplied in special feeders or put directly onto a bird table.
Birds: starlings, thrushes, tits and woodpeckers.
For a free leaflet on Garden birds, food and feeding, write to, GBW, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU, or telephone 01842-750050
British Trust for Ornithology: www.bto.org
Find out what to plant to attract birds into your garden.