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  5. 5 Best Bird Foods for Winter UK 2022
  • 5 Best Bird Foods for Winter UK 2022 1
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5 Best Bird Foods for Winter UK 2022

Winter is a tough time for bird populations. Birds require more energy than in the spring and summer just to keep warm in cold temperatures. While some bird species migrate to sunnier climates, for those that remain in the UK, food sources become scarce. So it's nice to give them a little boost when they visit your garden.

We can support our feathered friends by providing them with high fat, nutrient-dense bird foods to help them through the winter. Whether you want ready-made bird food or want to create your own healthy recipe, in this article, we share our tips and advice on what you should look for when choosing a suitable bird food for winter.
Last updated 19/08/2022
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How to Choose Bird Foods for Winter in the UK ― Buying Guide

When feeding birds in the winter, high-energy and nutrient rich foods support birds’ health when environmental food sources are lacking. Seek varieties that offer ingredients with high fat or oil content as calorie dense foods provide more energy per gram.

① Look for Bird Foods With Nutrient Dense Ingredients for Winter

In the winter natural food sources become scarce, making it difficult for birds to take in enough nutrients. You should feed birds a good mix of vitamin-rich seeds, fats such as suet or peanuts, and mealworms for protein.

Black Sunflower Seeds Are a Versatile Winter Food for Birds

Black Sunflower Seeds Are a Versatile Winter Food for Birds
Black sunflower seeds are an excellent staple food for birds in winter. Black sunflower seeds have a much higher fat content than the striped variety making them more suited for colder months. They are also easier to crack because of their softer shells.


All types of birds will enjoy eating black sunflower seeds so they are a good choice to cater to a wide variety of garden birds that may visit your feeder. Small birds that are unable to crack the shells will snap up the fallen kernels dropped by their larger friends.

Nyger Seeds Are High in Oil and Great for Small Birds

Nyger Seeds Are High in Oil and Great for Small Birds
Nyger seeds sometimes referred to as ‘niger’ or ‘thistle’ seeds, come from the African yellow daisy. The tiny seeds are high in oil and favoured by birds such as sparrows and finches. Birds with small or pointed beaks will love nyger seeds as they can be easily cracked.


Be aware that nyger seeds grow mouldy quickly in damp and wet weather. Make sure to check your feeder regularly and replace any rancid seed immediately.

Peanuts Provide a Good Source of Proteins and Fats

Peanuts Provide a Good Source of Proteins and Fats
Peanuts are a fantastic source of protein and fat to keep birds satisfied over the colder months. Whole peanuts, shelled peanuts and dry roasted varieties are a big hit with larger garden birds such as woodpeckers and nuthatches.


Avoid feeding salted peanuts to birds as their bodies are unable to process high levels of sodium, which leads to illness and in some cases death. Squirrels also love peanuts which is something to be vigilant of when selecting them for your feeder.

Peanut Butter is a Great Alternative to Whole Peanuts

Peanut Butter is a Great Alternative to Whole Peanuts
Did you know birds can eat peanut butter? With all the nutritional benefits of whole peanuts, peanut butter makes a good choice for those catering to large and small birds. Unlike the large nuts, peanut butter is easily scooped up in small beaks.


Alongside proteins and fats, peanut butter also provides iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Make sure to only feed bird-safe peanut butter, free from salt, sugar and hydrogenated oils.

Choose Suet as an Energy Dense Base for Your Bird Food

Choose Suet as an Energy Dense Base for Your Bird Food
Suet is a hard fat derived from livestock animals, although some suet based foods are manufactured using animal substitutes. The fat from suet is a fantastic source of energy for birds in winter especially when mixed with seeds, fruit and nuts.


Commonly sold in blocks or balls, suet is a favourite of woodpeckers, cardinals and wrens. As animal derived raw suet becomes rancid in warm temperatures, it is most suitable for feeding birds in the coldest months around December and January.

Give Birds Fresh Mealworms for a Tasty and Nutritious Treat

Give Birds Fresh Mealworms for a Tasty and Nutritious Treat
Mealworms aren’t actually worms at all, but the larvae of the darkling beetle. They provide birds with a great source of protein and calcium that they just love to gobble up. So much so, you may find hungry birds racing to gulp down the critters from the moment you put them out.


You should take precautions to avoid live worms escaping when stored. They won’t be able to break free from a deep plastic container, so a bucket is sufficient providing there is at least three inches between the worms and the lip. Store in a cool, dark place somewhere they won’t get knocked over.

Fruit is an Excellent Choice for Attracting Robins

Fruit is an Excellent Choice for Attracting Robins
The winter is the perfect time to feed birds fruit. In the summer and autumn, berries and fruits are readily available so there is no need. Further, placing out fruits in the summer will attract wasps and ants.


Fruit becomes harder to find naturally during the winter. Fruits are a good source of vitamin C and fibre, especially attractive to birds such as Robins and thrushes.

Corn is a Cost Effective Way to Supply Much Needed Vitamins and Minerals

Corn is a Cost Effective Way to Supply Much Needed Vitamins and Minerals
Corn is an inexpensive bird food rich in vitamin C, B and magnesium. If you enjoy feeding waterfowl such as ducks or geese, whole corn kernels make a great snack and dietary supplement in winter.


Whole kernels are too large for most garden birds, so look for foods or mixes where the corn has been broken up into smaller pieces. Ground feeding birds such as pigeons, doves and sparrows will appreciate cracked corn scattered beneath bushes and under trees.

② Consider the Form and Mix of Bird Food you Buy

Bird foods are available in many forms such as seed mixes, butters, balls and bars. You can even buy individual loose ingredients such as seeds, mealworms or nuts. Each type has certain characteristics that are important to consider when feeding birds this winter.

Seed Mixes Provide the Perfect Nutritional Blend for Birds in Winter

Seed Mixes Provide the Perfect Nutritional Blend for Birds in Winter
Seed mixes are a popular choice when it comes to buying bird food in the UK. There are many benefits to seed mixes over other types of foods. Seed mixes and blends are formulated to provide a carefully balanced mix of nutrients to cater to a variety of species.


You can buy specific seasonal blends to ensure the correct ratio and assortment of seeds, nuts and grains for winter. When stored properly in an airtight container, seed mixes can keep for months and are suitable for many types of bird feeders. Scatter seeds underneath bushes for ground-feeding birds.

Suet Balls and Bars Provide More Energy and Attract a Wide Variety of Birds

Suet Balls and Bars Provide More Energy and Attract a Wide Variety of Birds
The calorie density of suet means birds do not need large amounts to gain a sufficient energy boost in winter. Seeds, nuts, fruit and worms can be mixed with suet for added nutrition and to make them more palatable to a wider variety of birds.


Suet can be placed in various ways around the garden to help birds gain easy access to feed. Bars can be placed directly onto bird tables while balls are a good option for hanging feeders.

Buy Single Ingredients to Create Your Own Food Mixes

Buy Single Ingredients to Create Your Own Food Mixes
Buying loose ingredients can be a great way to create your own seed mixes for winter. Consider types of birds that will visit your garden and buy ingredients accordingly. For Finches, small seeds such as Nyger are a good choice while sparrows, wood pigeons and doves prefer larger grains like cracked corn.


Popular foods for winter such as peanuts and mealworms are often sold in bulk. This can be very cost-efficient and can be fed to birds either straight from the packet or as part of a mix.

The Best Bird Foods for Winter in the UK

Here in ranking order, are our best foods to buy online in the UK for keeping birds satisfied this winter!
Products
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Points
1

Peckish

1. Peckish Winter Warmer Wild Bird Seed Mix

Peckish  1. Peckish Winter Warmer Wild Bird Seed Mix 1枚目

Best Complete Seed Mix for Winter With Sunflower Seeds, Corn, and Linseed

2

SQUAWK

3. SQUAWK Dried Mealworms

SQUAWK  3. SQUAWK Dried Mealworms 1枚目

Premium Quality Dried Mealworms to Make For a Protein Rich Treats

3

Suet To Go

4. Suet To Go Peanut and Cherry Suet Block Wild Bird Treat

Suet To Go  4. Suet To Go Peanut and Cherry Suet Block Wild Bird Treat 1枚目

Nutritionally Dense, Individually Wrapped Suet Bars With Berry

4

Peckish

6. Peckish Natural Balance Energy Suet Fat Balls for Wild Birds

Peckish  6. Peckish Natural Balance Energy Suet Fat Balls for Wild Birds 1枚目

Best Value Suet Balls for Winter

5

SQUAWK

7. SQUAWK Niger Seed

SQUAWK  7.  SQUAWK Niger Seed 1枚目

Oil-Rich Seeds Ideal for Tiny Beaks

Product details
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No.1

Peckish 1. Peckish Winter Warmer Wild Bird Seed Mix

£6.96

Best Complete Seed Mix for Winter With Sunflower Seeds, Corn, and Linseed

This complete winter bird seed mix combines 12 different seed types for a high fat, high energy bird mix. Peckish’s Winter Warmer Wild Bird Seed Mix contains a whopping 20% oil content making it perfect for keeping birds healthy, even on the coldest days of the year.

As well as black sunflower seeds, corn and suet, Peckish have included linseed and rapeseed too, which means that even birds with small beaks will be able to pick up these vitamin E and amino acid rich seeds.
No.2

SQUAWK 3. SQUAWK Dried Mealworms

£9.99

Premium Quality Dried Mealworms to Make For a Protein Rich Treats

If you haven’t yet tried feeding birds mealworms, you will be amazed at how voraciously they devour them the second they are placed outside. Crawling insects and worms like to stay snug underground in the winter, away from where birds can access, so they will be very grateful for this easy to obtain snack.

SQUAWK’s premium quality mealworms contain approximately 470 calories per 100g with 53% protein, and yes, they are sent pre-dried meaning they can easily be stored away in your garage or cupboard.
No.3

Suet To Go 4. Suet To Go Peanut and Cherry Suet Block Wild Bird TreatBerry & Bugs

£9.19

Nutritionally Dense, Individually Wrapped Suet Bars With Berry

Containing 10 highly nutritious suet blocks, give the birds a nice treat this winter with these suet blocks packed full of delicious berries and bugs. Gifting your local wildlife these blocks will provide them with a healthy, high energy snack.

Available in other ingredients combinations, you can change things up with flavours such as peanut and cherry or insects and raisins. The blocks come individually wrapped inside the main box to prevent the bars from melting, so you can stock up in advance and pop them outside once the first frost appears.
No.4

Peckish 6. Peckish Natural Balance Energy Suet Fat Balls for Wild Birds

£8.49

Best Value Suet Balls for Winter

Peckish’s Natural Balance Energy Suet Fat Balls for Wild Birds provide a convenient high energy food source for birds. Although their composition makes them best suited for winter, these suet balls are more than adequate in any season.

Packed full of sunflower seeds, place these in your garden and you are sure to attract hungry robins, sparrows and tits. Available as a pack of 50, you will certainly get value for your money with enough to last you from November through to March.
No.5

SQUAWK 7. SQUAWK Niger Seed

£6.99

Oil-Rich Seeds Ideal for Tiny Beaks

Nyger seed is a fairly recent addition when it comes to the range of bird seeds you will commonly find available to buy in the UK. The small size of nyger seeds mean a little go a long way. These seeds work best in tube feeders to provide nutrient dense oily seeds to birds such as bramblings, goldfinches and sparrows.

Buying loose nyger seeds can be a great way to transition leftover bird seed mixes throughout the autumn to ones more suitable for winter feeding. Not only is this less wasteful and cost effective, but will attract a wider variety of bird species to your feeder as seasons change.

Keep the Health of Your Animals on Top Form No Matter the Species or Health Concern

Keep the Health of Your Animals on Top Form No Matter the Species or Health Concern

Whether you have one precious thumper or a mini menagerie of pets, making sure that you cater to each and every animal's individual needs should be a top priority. Take a look at some of our other articles on foods for the different pets in your life. 

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