Summer is a spectacular season for birds, and knowing how to feed birds in summer will not only attract hungry feathered guests to your yard, but will nourish seasonal visitors, growing hatchlings, and every summer bird that stops by for a snack. From the best foods to the right feeders, birders who take steps to meet summer birds' nutritional needs will be rewarded with many more birds to enjoy throughout the season.
The Foods Summer Birds Need
By the beginning of summer, migratory birds will be back in your yards. To attract these new visitors, it’s important to provide a variety of rich, nutritious foods during the busy summer months. One of the most sought-after foods in summer is insects, as they provide essential protein and energy for nestling growth, feather development, and adult birds molting their plumage. Mealworms are a great protein source for birds, including seed and suet cakes that include mealworms, such as the Songbird Seed Cake with Mealworms. Peanuts are another great source of protein, and can be offered to birds whole, as hearts, or in seed or suet cakes.
Birds need long-lasting energy for summer's long days to keep them fueled for all their daily tasks, including preening, staying alert for predators, nest repair, foraging for their families, and more. In addition to insects, seeds and grains, including seed blends such as Kaytee’s Birders' Blend or Songbird Blend, are superb energy sources, as is straight black oil sunflower seed.
Quick, sweet snacks provide fast energy to keep birds active and alert. Many summer birds, like hummingbirds and orioles, are attracted to nectar and fruit feeders. For a quick energy burst, Kaytee ElectroNectar is a great choice to fill hummingbird feeders to both feed and hydrate thirsty birds. Other foods great for summer birds include jelly and fruit, like oranges and cherries.
In addition to supplemental foods, birds will forage widely for natural foods throughout the summer. Planting native plants that support native insects helps ensure summer birds have ample food supply. Plants such as seed-bearing and nectar-rich flowers, nut or berry bushes, and seed-bearing grasses can help birds find even more food year-round. Providing water is also one of the biggest attractions for birds in the summer.
Tips for How to Feed Birds in Summer
Feeding a variety of foods will help to attract a range of bird species and offering those foods in different ways can help birds feel comfortable and safe while feeding. To create a bird-friendly yard for feeding birds in summer…
- Use a variety of feeder styles to suit birds' different feeding preferences, including hopper, tray, tube, sock, and nectar feeders.
- Create your bird-feeding station away from busier parts of the yard, such as children's play equipment, a deck, or a pet enclosure, so birds feel more secure.
- Position feeders close to thick brush to provide a quick escape for nervous visitors, but far enough away so predators aren't concealed.
- Position nectar and jelly feeders in shaded spaces to slow fermentation and keep feeders clean to minimize seed spoilage
- Refill summer bird feeders often so birds can learn to trust and rely on these supplemental food sources.
- Use dome-style baffles to shield feeders from summer rain that could cause mold or mildew in uneaten seed.
- Keep pets indoors during popular bird feeding times, and always supervise pets when they are outdoors so they do not disturb or endanger birds.
The more you know about how to feed birds in summer and the more steps you take to keep birds safe and at ease while they visit your feeders, the more birds you will see at your backyard buffet all summer long.