Different birds like different foods at different times of year. This means that the best way around the challenge is to put out a variety of foods and mixes. In this way, you will attract a greater variety of birds.
Incidentally, this is why Wiggly Wigglers has never used a key as to what birds will be attracted by what mix: to be frank, we would have to put most birds down for most of the time! That’s not to say that there aren’t some good guidelines, the people most successful at attracting birds tend to put out:
1 Good quality seed mixes
I use Wiggly Seed Extra, Wiggly Seed and Wiggly Huskless Feeds, as this covers a huge range of different seeds, including sunflowers. Remember, with seed mixes you do get what you pay for. I see lots of mixes for sale in garden centres and garages that have a huge percentage of wheat and other fillers in them. Avoid these cheaper mixes as you will attract lots of big birds (like pigeons) and end up frightening off the smaller birds. Wiggly Mixes contain a carefully selected balance of top quality ingredients and are designed to appeal to all the tit family, robins and wrens, finches and lots more.
My mum used to pop out a bag of Peanuts at Christmas time and when they were gone, they were gone. These days we have realised that we can all make a huge difference by feeding variety and year long. Your woodpecker and nuthatch will be particularly partial to a regular supply of peanuts so, even though we cannot grow these in the UK, they are well worth putting out in your garden.
3 LIVE! food
Most birds eat insects and invertebrates, so feeding live food offers this option straight from the birdtable. Live food is packed full of protein and fat and offers the birds a drink too as they are made up of 30% water.
4 Fruit (bruised is fine!)
Many kinds of fruit are very popular, especially with thrushes and blackbirds.
5 Niger Seed
I always keep a feeder filled with Niger Seed. It’s well known that goldfinches love this very fine seed, but it’s also popular with others from the finch family, including siskins.
6 Household scraps
Don’t forget to feed your leftovers! Pastry, cooked rice, breadcrumbs, cheese, cooked potatoes, most birds will love these treats!
7 Bird Cake and Fats
Fat balls and other fat-based food bars are excellent winter food, we use food grade fat in ours and in our coconuts and fatballs we now have our own exclusive British Mix Seed in them. The great thing about fat is it helps to keep your birds warm in cold weather!