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we had a good few dead baby birds this year, I put it down to the cold wet weather earlier but OH has questioned what he calls the fast food outlet. Easy food with no effort is bad for us, are we doing the birds a disservice by providing food?

Has anyone got any thoughts on this? Thoughts rather than results of on line searches would be appreciated. 


I never used to feed during summer nut, mainly because I felt birds should be finding food naturally, but we often have such bad weather, particularly at premium times for small birds , that I decided this year to keep one hanging feeder going. It has been used regularly, mainly by the sparrows, robins and tits when they have little uns. Watching the young robin visiting is very rewarding, as mum and dad often looked very bedraggled. I'd like to think I've assisted them in raising their fine, strapping youngster 

I feel it's a helping hand for them all, rather than being their only food source, so I think I'll continue to do it. 

hollie hock

As they were baby birds I'd be still inclined to think that they would benefit from a good start with extra food.


I think it's in the birds' nature to 'fill up' at one food resource and then move on to another - I've never seen them flit from one place to another if a lot of food is available in one place they take it.  


The RSPB suggest you should feed all year, although I have to admit to being less assiduous at filling up the feeders during the summer, hoping it will encourage them to eat more greenfly.



I'm undecided. We've never had that many dead babies before, I've never fed through summer before and it's a long time since we had such a cool wet early summer here. Too many variables.

Most od the casualties were goldfinches and green finches but that might be because that's what we've got most of. I wondered if the fat balls and sunflower seeds weren't good food for the babies

Alina W

I feed all year round, and have done for years. As far as I can tell, the food seems to help more birds survive, but they don't eat the foods provided exclusively by any means. We regularly see parent birds with beakfuls of grubs and spiders.


I feed in the winter. In the summer the birds eat all my currants, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, mirabelles, grapes. Now there are beak peck holes in the unripe peaches. Could that be because I'm not feeding them?!

The bird population has increased here, especially tits and blackbirds, but 20 years ago there used to be goldfinches - haven't seen one for years. Haven't seen dead baby birds either.


Hi Nut

I don't think it hurts to keep some food out. Here in Surrey, I had some time off in Spring and found I could barely keep up with the refilling of feeders and bird baths, every day. Then I got busy at work from the end of May/into June and noticed the birds seemed to disappear into their nesting and I could get away with refilling only twice a week (happily). 

I still kept it up but like others I guess I let it get empty for the odd day at a time, hoping to encourage the birds to eat the bugs etc instead. And I continued to see birds flitting about with bugs in their beaks suggesting the parents feed bugs to their young. 

Apparently it's a good thing to keep the feeders stocked for the mum and dads themselves.

I noticed the fat balls are eaten less in the height of summer, and the peanuts, maybe you could reduce those? In favour of seeds. I do.

Whatever you do I'm sure it helps. 

Its been an unusually wet year for sure.


Thank you for your thoughts everyone. I've left the feeders empty for a few days, no bodies but much warmer now I'll see what happens when I fill them again.

Hi all, I moved into a new house a few months ago and noticed a few tiny birds chirping away quite a lot.

I started putting out a wildbird food mix but on a few occasions when I've run out, I've resorted to bread broken up into tiny bits and found there were never left overs! I now do i mix of crumbs and seeds but do find the little birds (i believe they're sparrows?) Seem to eat all the bread before even making a start of the seeds!

Could somebody let me know bread is ok to feed them? I have maybe 20/25 daily visitors feeding from my yard now! (As well as 3 very characteristic wood pigeons that jusy love stealing the little birds foods!) So you can imagine how often im filling up the feeding station - pigeons ate a 2kg bag of seeds in 3 days between them !




Firstly, buy a feeder which only the small birds can access!!


I, like Alina, feed my birds all year around and I get the No Grow seed mix in bulk from a local mill. The sunflowers seeds are all shell less (there's probably a word for that but brain is sluggish due to late night watching Olympics!) hulled possibly? This has suet pellets, flaked maize and flaked peas in too. I chop old apples from the fruit bowl (shame!) into quarters and leave them under the shrubs where the blackbirds feast on them. Char - don't feed bread - not good for birds - it has very little food value. The parent birds still arrived with lots of grubs, caterpillars, greenfly etc. for the babies and the several nests I had this year all did well.

Last edited: 14 August 2016 11:44:35

Hi Joyce,

I did try that, but have resorted to letting them eat here as they're very crafty where food is concerned

I started sprinking a load on the floor for them to eat but they seem to love making it hard work for themselves clinging onto the fencing or wall (where the little birds have no issues peching at all) as if stealing it haha.

I just wanted to make sure bread is ok to feed as the little birds really do seem to prefer it, I've bought seeded loaves on a few occasions just to make sure there's some natural nutrition in there for them :-)



L'bird,   sunflower hearts.   That's what I have in the feeder year-round.  The birds still strip the pyracantha and cotoneaster berries in record time.


plant pauper

My pyracantha was "au naturel" shall we say  and had huge, long, dangly branches. I loved watching the fat blackbirds eating the berries. The branches bent closer to the ground every time they landed on them. This year I'm making room for some cotoneasters. 

The wrens and finches seem to prefer to cling on plants and pots and walls to grub about for seeds and insects. The goldfinches are like a well oiled machine stripping dandelion heads. My roses were aphid free this year thanks to my willow warblers.

Joyce21 says:

L'bird,   sunflower hearts.   That's what I have in the feeder year-round.  The birds still strip the pyracantha and cotoneaster berries in record time.

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 Thank you so much Joyce! I need sleep! Thank goodness the Olympics only last two weeks!

I did actually start by just feeding dried mealworms but they went through them so quick!

To be honest, I live in more a yard than a garden area and don't think many neighbours bother with the wildlife, eventhough there's clearly plenty around! They soon discovered there's fresh food + water in my yard every morning and stared inviting all their friends - and bringing their babies by now maybe?

I maybe need a find a more reasonably priced place to buy seeds as I'm spending £3 on high energy mix from asda but only 1.5kg.. which was fine for the sparrows, but isn't lasting 3 days with my recent imposters haha


pp some pyracantha branches are 10 feet high.    I do prune them once the birds have had the berries.

I can sit indoors and watch them. 

plant pauper

Me too Joyce. It's right outside my kitchen window. It's like having a telly only better!!!