Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big wild bird food test 2021. Here we present every wild bird food we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best wild bird food for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy wild bird food.




Summary

  • Wild bird food is an ideal way to support our feathered friends, especially during the cold winter months. Endangered bird species in particular need sufficient food during the breeding season.
  • The composition of wild bird food varies according to the season. In summer, free-living birds mainly need food containing protein; in winter, food containing fat is particularly suitable. A basic distinction is made between soft food eaters and grain eaters.
  • In the case of wild bird food, a distinction is made between scattered food and fat food.

The Best Wild Bird Food: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying wild bird food

Why should I feed wild birds with wild bird food?

Nature is constantly changing at the hands of man, which means that there are fewer and fewer natural areas. This also reduces the diversity of insects, which are actually an important source of food for wild birds. Wild bird food is therefore an ideal way to support our feathered friends.

Wiedehopf

The hoopoe is one of many endangered bird species in Germany (Source: pixabay.com / linda1978)

Species threatened with extinction can also be preserved through wild bird food. This is because not only common bird species like to visit man-made feeding sites, especially if the wild bird food is made available to the animals at forest edges or beyond populated areas.

This provides endangered species with an ideal food source, especially during the breeding season.

What should wild bird feed contain?

The composition of wild bird food varies mainly depending on the season. In summer, free-living birds mainly need food containing protein, such as mealworms or black sunflower seeds. In winter, fatty foods such as hemp seeds, linseeds and peanuts are particularly suitable for feeding.

Basically, the more varied the wild bird food, the more bird species will enjoy it. A mixture of grains should consist of hemp and sunflower seeds, as these have a high oil content. However, poppy seeds, millet and thistle seeds can also be added to this mixture of grains.

Bird food should never contain salty food such as bread or bacon, as these have a negative effect on the bird's organism. Pieces of bread also swell up in the birds' stomachs. You can either hang the food in small nets on trees or place it in a bird house. Bird feeders are also suitable, as they allow the birds to reach the feed easily and naturally.

Which wild bird food is suitable for which wild bird species?

Each species of bird has its own preferences. A basic distinction is made between soft feeders and grain feeders. The former look for their food mainly on the ground.

They include blackbirds, robins, wrens, dunnocks and starlings. Tits, nuthatches and woodpeckers are both soft food eaters and grain eaters. Grain eaters such as sparrows or buntings have a more robust beak and eat all kinds of seeds.

Amsel

With its pointed and long beak, the blackbird belongs to the soft food eaters. (Source: pixabay.com / Katinka vom Wolfenmond)

In the following table we show you examples of which ingredients in wild bird food are particularly suitable for which bird species.

Wild bird food bird species
crushed oats suitable for many bird species
linseed sparrows, chaffinches, bramblings, house sparrows, tree sparrows, greenfinches, redpolls, redpolls, goldfinches
millet Sparrows, Goldfinches, Finches, Dunnocks
Hemp seed Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Bullfinch
Wheat and Barley Pigeons, pheasants
Sunflower seeds Great tit, hawfinch, greenfinch, nuthatch
Peanuts greenfinches, tits, nuthatches, sparrows, siskins, green woodpeckers
Beechnuts Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Brambling
Rowan berries, mealberries, apples, pears, bananas Robin, Starling, Blackbirds, Blackcap, Waxwing
Fat, tallow, lard Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Chickadee, Winter Goldfinch, Robin

How much does wild bird food cost?

The prices of wild bird food differ according to various factors. Inexpensive varieties start at eight euros. More expensive varieties can cost around thirty to fifty euros. Basically, you should consider the composition and quantity of wild bird food in relation to the price.
Wild bird food price
Scattered food 8-50 €
Fat food 10-30 €

What alternatives are there to wild bird food?

As an alternative to wild bird food, you can also make your garden bird-friendly in other ways. There are several options that can replace a feeding station.

For example, hawthorn or rowan hedges provide an ideal habitat for birds. In addition, you can postpone the pruning of shrubs until the end of winter, as this allows our feathered friends to still enjoy their fruits during the cold season.

You can also leave the leaves in your garden a little longer. Birds will find insects there, which are an important source of food.

Decision: What types of wild bird food are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, we distinguish between these types of wild bird food:

  • Scattered food
  • Fat feed

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the wild bird food that is best suited to you.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of scatter feed?

Scattered food or grain food consists of a wide variety of grains and seeds and is suitable for those bird species that have a strong beak. Powdered feed usually consists of peanuts, sunflower seeds and other grains. But it can also contain dried berries and sultanas.

The advantage of litter feed is that it can be fed as an energy-rich staple food to all grain-eaters without any problems.

The disadvantage of litter feed is that it is not suitable for all bird species, as soft food eaters in particular cannot absorb the grains.

In addition, with wild bird food for scattering on the ground or if placed incorrectly, there is a risk of faeces getting between the grains and seeds and thus transmitting diseases.

Advantages
  • ideal for grain eaters
Disadvantages
  • not suitable for all bird species
  • can quickly become contaminated

What are the characteristics of fat food and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Fat feeds as wild bird food usually consist of a mixture of beef tallow as well as seeds and grains. They are mainly suitable for soft feeders with a pointed and narrow beak. Fat food is usually offered in the form of insect dumplings or titmouse dumplings with or without netting.

It is hung in spiral feathers or grid silos in elevated places. The advantage of fat food is that it is less likely to be contaminated by droppings or other debris if placed correctly in a net or similar.

In addition, the fat balls cannot be stolen as a whole by larger birds. The disadvantage of fat food is that it is mainly suitable for soft food eaters and less for grain eaters.

Advantages
  • protected from contamination
  • protected from larger birds
Disadvantages
  • less suitable for grain eaters

There is also the so-called fat-mixed feed, which usually consists of fat, oat flakes and other grains and seeds.

It is suitable for both soft feeders and grain eaters. Thanks to its high nutritional value and oil content, it is an energy-rich food source for free-living birds.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate wild bird food

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate wild bird food. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular wild bird food is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Composition
  • Bird species
  • Season

Composition

When buying wild bird food, you should definitely pay attention to the composition. There are different products on the market from different manufacturers.

Some stretch the wild bird food with lentils, dried rice, beans or peas. However, these ingredients can only be eaten by large bird species, so you should avoid stretched products as much as possible.

WIldvogelfutter

The fat in tit dumplings provides the birds with a lot of energy (Source: pixabay.com / Alexas Fotos)

A high content of sunflower seeds, hemp seeds or maize kernels is recommended because of the high fat content. In addition, oats should not be included in the mixture in too large a quantity, as this is only taken up by a few bird species and the husk spreads over a large area around the feeding station.

Bird species

As we have already made clear, each bird species eats something different. Basically, the more varied the food mix, the more bird species will enjoy it. Be aware of the bird species that live in your area and which of them can benefit from your wild bird food.

Depending on the bird species, there should be something for grain eaters or soft food eaters. Bird species that are threatened with extinction will gladly accept your wild bird food if you place it at the edge of the forest or away from settlements. If these species are well fed, especially during the breeding season, the likelihood of multiple broods of endangered wild birds will also increase.

Season

The time of year also plays an important role when buying wild bird food. Especially in summer, during moulting, birds need protein-rich food, while in winter it is mainly fat-rich food that keeps free-living birds strong.

When buying wild bird food, make sure you know which food is intended for which season and when you intend to feed it to free-living birds. Some manufacturers also offer wild bird food that can be used throughout the year.

Facts worth knowing about wild bird food

How do I prepare wild bird food myself?

As well as buying wild bird food, you can easily mix it yourself. There are various ways of doing this, two of which we would like to introduce to you:

Fat feed

This fat food is especially suitable for woodpeckers, long-tailed tits and treecreepers. In the following steps we will explain the procedure:

  • First heat the beef tallow.
  • Once it has melted, add the wheat bran and, if necessary, other seeds.
  • Add a teaspoon of salad oil to prevent the mixture from breaking when cold.
  • With five parts of suet on one part of wheat bran, you can now spread the mixture on cracked bark of older trees.

Bird food on a stick

This wild bird food is made of suet and can be easily attached to trees or bushes thanks to its stem shape. Proceed as follows:

  • First melt the suet and then pour it into a yoghurt pot.
  • Now add more seeds or dried fruits and stir them in.
  • Then stick twigs into the soft fat mixture and let it cool down.
  • Dip the mixture briefly in cold water to release it from the mould.
  • Now you can attach the finished stem upside down to trees and bushes using the twigs.

When should I feed wild birds with wild bird food?

In principle, feeding wild birds all year round would be ideal. However, if you cannot do this, you can limit yourself to the cold winter months. Winter feeding starts at least in September and should be carried out at least until April.

Where should I place the wild bird food?

Basically you can place wild bird feeders anywhere. For example, in the garden of a family home. Make sure that the feeding place is not located in dense bushes so that the birds can fly to the place without any problems. They should also be protected from possible enemies.

Also, there should not be any large windows in the vicinity, as the birds could easily fly into them and injure themselves.

Vogelhaus

The bird feeder is one of the classic places for feeding wild birds (Source: pixabay.com / Alexas Fotos)

If you choose a bird feeder, make sure that it is at least 1.50 metres above the ground, otherwise cats can easily jump on it. It should also be spacious enough so that the birds have enough room.

However, the feeder is susceptible to changes in the weather, as it can easily rain or snow into it. Alternatively, you can build a so-called feeding silo. These are tube-like constructions in which the wild bird food is filled and protected from all weather conditions and possible thieves.

Peanuts in particular are often stolen by crows. There are also so-called titmouse dumplings. These can be placed either in spiral feathers or grid silos, where they are also protected from possible thieves such as crows. This way, the birds can peck at the tit dumplings from the outside without being disturbed.

How do I clean a feeding station?

Good hygiene at the feeding station is important, but should not be overdone. As birds have a very high body temperature, they are equipped with an excellent immune system that protects them from various pathogens.

Every few days it is sufficient to roughly clean the feeder. Once a month you should do this more thoroughly. However, it is sufficient to clean the area with hot water.

Image source: pixabay.com / Oldiefan

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