Summer Bird Feeding
The What, How, Why

Summer bird feeding in your backyard is very satisfying, both for you and the wild birds.


garden feeders

Some people are of the opinion that it is not necessary to feed the wild birds during the summer.

The truth is that it is never necessary for us to feed wild birds at any time of year.

Birds have survived for thousands of years without our help.

It is only for our pleasure and curiosity that we lure them to our backyards for bird watching.



What To Feed For Summer Bird Feeding?

1. What Seed Feeders Are Best?

Seed feeders filled with the most popular wild bird food, black-oil sunflower, will always attract the largest variety and number of birds.

Mixed seed with black-oil sunflower, striped sunflower, peanuts, white millet and corn is also a good mix, but maybe a little harder to come by, as many sellers have mixes filled with grains and other seed that most songbirds we want to attract don't eat. Learn what happens when you put a bad mix in your feeders.

Goldfinches, are attractive birds to see at feeders.

To attract these beautiful birds for backyard bird watching, put out a specially adapted feeder filled with nyjer, as this tiny black seed is their favourite food.

But only put out enough for it to be eaten in a day as nyjer seed spoils very quickly and can grow mold or leave it for winter bird feeding when the temperatures are cooler.



american-goldfinch-pair-natural-backyard-backgroundPair Of American Goldfinches Enjoying Nyjer Seed

How To Serve Seed?

Black-oil sunflower seed and mixed seed is best served in chalet, hopper style feeders and platform feeders.

Tube feeders are best filled with black-oil seed as the mixed seed that does not get eaten will clog up the feeder with uneaten seed.

Shelled sunflower is like nyjer seed, once taken out of its protective shell it deteriorates faster and therefore should be served in small amounts or saved for cool weather.


chickadee-at-hopper-feeder-filled-with-mixed-seedA Chalet Feeder Filled With A Good Mixed Seed Will Attract Many Wild Birds


2. What Birds Will Nectar Feeders Attract?

Syrup feeders for Hummingbirds and Orioles are exciting summer bird feeding venues.

At one house we lived in, a pair of Baltimore Orioles used our feeder for a number of years.

The male always brought the young with him to the feeder when they were old enough.

We also had House Finches use our nectar feeders regularly too.



How To Use Syrup Feeders?

Ant motes keep ants from filling up your nectar feeders.

They are simply a reservoir to hold water which the ant must cross to get to the nectar.

Ants are highly attracted to the sweet liquid but a feeder with a built in ant mote or one can be purchased to place between the hook and the feeder works to keep them out.

The ants drown before they get into the nectar.

Some oriole feeders have bee guards built-into the feeding ports, which is a very fine feature for keeping bees alive and out of your syrup.

To keep the feeders less attractive to bees, It is helpful to keep your feeders clean on the outside and not let the nectar drip when you are hanging it back up.

(One of the greatest causes of dripping nectar feeders is tightening them too far after filling them. Try to stop when you feel it catch. Resist the urge to give it one more turn to tighten it up a little more. Tightening too far can cause the threads to leak.)

Hummingbirds though, sometimes find the bee guards on Oriole feeders difficult to push past to get into the syrup.

So if you want to purchase a nectar feeder for both types of birds to use then avoid one that has bee guards.

But better still purchase one feeder suitable for Hummingbirds and one for the Orioles.

There are special bee guards for Hummingbird feeders too.

That way the bees can be happy too and stick with flowers!


male baltimore oriole on nectar feederMale Baltimore Oriole

3. What Birds Like Jelly Feeders for Summer Bird Feeding?

Sharing your morning breakfast jelly is a treat birds attracted to syrup feeders and fruit will also enjoy.

Grape jelly and apple jelly are two favourites but experimenting with other flavours can also be very rewarding.

Choose brands that do not have additives, as birds having such small bodies compared with ours, can be affected by chemical additives.

Orioles will especially be appreciative of this treat but many other birds will have a taste too, like Red-breasted Grosbeaks and House Finches.


How To Feed Jelly To Birds?

There are many attractive jelly feeders on the market.

Some have a roof that prevents rain from filling up the feeder which is very helpful in keeping the jelly from being diluted with rain water.

Here is one I made out of a plastic juice bottle and here is a good selection that can be purchased.


4. Fruit Feeders Attract Many Different Birds

We Know Orioles Love Them!

Fruit feeders are also a simple way to attract different birds which do not frequent seed feeders.

Fresh fruit served up daily, such as oranges, grapes, bananas or apples will be a welcome wild bird food by many.

Some of the birds you may attract with a variety of fruit are Woodpeckers, Orioles, Gray Catbirds, Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, Northern Mockingbirds, Robins, Towhees, House Finches, Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers.


Fruit & Jelly Feeders I Recommend & So Much Fun





5. What Birds Like Mealworms?

Another type of delectable wild bird dish that can be added to the summer bird feeding buffet table is mealworms.

Who could possibly resist freeze-dried mealworms? Not Bluebirds...

At first thought this may not appeal to some bird watchers. But learning that Blue Birds, Warblers and other insect eating species will be the grateful diners, helps to take the distaste away from serving such a meal.

Don't miss out on this wonderful bird watching opportunity.

Order mealworms right here on this page with an appropriate feeder and have great fun!



How To Serve Mealworms?

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Mealworms ~ Who can resist?




6. Can You Feed Suet To Wild Birds In Summer?

Summer bird feeding with suet may sound like a paradoxical statement.

white breasted nuthatchWhite Breasted Nuthatch Munching On A Suet Ball Coated in Black Oil Sunflower Seed

But it is an entertaining bird food.

Summer suet is heated so that it resists melting during higher summer temperatures. More about suet.

It should not contain preservatives.

It is best to hang it in shade where it will be a little cooler.

Parent birds of many species will feed suet to their young as an energy booster to their diet.

Woodpeckers, Chickadees and Nuthatches who are the birds we usually think of as suet eaters, will appreciate the year round consistency of having this food in the summer as well.

See a good selection of Suet Feeders.


7. What Happens When A Bird Bath Is Added To A Backyard?

Attracting wild birds is quicker & easier than with a bird feeder.


Bird baths are also an exciting venue for backyard bird watching. Wild birds require water like all living creatures. They need it for drinking, bathing and when all of their other needs are met, frolicking!

Bird baths will also attract birds which normally do not come to traditional bird feeders for seed. See more about bird baths here.


A few tips if you want to purchase from this page:

  1. In my experience wild birds prefer darker colored baths.
  1. Choose easy to clean materials like metal, glass or hard plastic.
  1. Keep water level under 2  inches deep or add stones for the smaller birds to stand on.



Best Rated Bird Baths & Accessories

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Water Wiggler

Prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs & the sound of water moving attracts wild birds.

Hummingbirds love to swoop through to bathe and the sound of water is a magnet for them.




I Have a Great Selection of Summer Bird Feeding Supplies with Gold Star Ratings for You




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Why Summer Bird Feeding Is A Wonderful Season For This Great Hobby?

1. A greater number of birds can be attracted than any of the other 3 seasons.

2. A much broader variety of birds can be attracted as well.

3. Observing parent birds with their young is educational and fun.

4. Many wild bird pairs will raise multiple broods.

5. Males of many species are brightly coloured during the mating season which adds to the joys of bird watching.

6. Generally the weather is more co-operative making it easier to look after bird feeders and baths.

Summer feeding provides the potential of attracting a far greater variety of birds than in the winter bird feeding season.

Summer is the most heavily bird populated season for the northern United States and Canada.

If a bird feeder is only put out in the winter, the opportunity to observe the birds during their active spring and summer season will be missed.

Numerous wild birds return in the spring to nest and raise their baby birds.

This behaviour will repeat itself many times over the course of the summer as some species may raise two to four families in one season.

Summer bird feeding increases a bird watcher’s opportunity to witness these wonderful events.

The parent birds will bring their young to backyard bird feeders after the young have fledged from the bird nest.

This provides a fascinating occasion to see the parents feeding their young. They will be using the bird food from your feeder too!

These are moments that you will not want to miss and will be able to witness while summer bird feeding.

Some birds, such as the Goldfinch, will be dressed in their mating plumage for the summer season.

The male Goldfinch keeps his bright yellow colour most of the summer.

Then they begin to turn back to the yellowy green colour of the female during the autumn season.



What Is The One Caution About Feeding Birds In Summer?

If You Do Summer Bird Feeding ~ Hygiene Is Important

The only caution around summer bird feeding is the concern for cleaning feeders often enough to prevent bacteria build up.

Bacteria will grow more quickly in the heat of the summer of course so extra care must be taken.

If the food in a feeder is spoiling before it is eaten, put smaller amounts in the feeder.

Secondly, you may have to purchase a better quality seed with no fillers.

Poor quality mixed seed contains types of milo and sorghum, seed that wild birds don’t eat.

The result is the seed sits and rots, either in the feeder or on the ground where the birds have tossed it, causing the perfect environment for disease to grow and spread.



How to...

Clean Seed Feeders?

Nectar Feeders?

Bird Baths?



"Have Patience"

Patience with new bird feeders and baths is mandatory! It takes time for wild birds to adjust to any changes in a backyard.

It is best to place new feeders at least ten feet away from existing feeders until visitors are frequenting the new addition. It can then be moved if desired.


So for summer bird feeding success, deck your backyard with a good variety of bird feeders, baths and houses and watch the avian highway grow!

Will birds migrate in the fall if you leave your feeders up?

Find out for seed feeders and Hummingbird feeders.




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More About Seasonal Feeding Below & In Right Column

  • Autumn Bird Feeding ~ Some people think that bird feeding in the autumn is not a good idea. They mistakenly believe that their feeders will keep the birds from migrating. Find out the truth.
  • Winter Bird Feeding ~ Bird watching in the winter months provides many rewards for us. We can’t help ourselves from wanting to assist them by putting out a bird feeder.


> Summer Bird Feeding


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Guide to Backyard Wild Birds