News — what to feed wild birds in the winter

The Reason the Squirrels Are Fatter in your Neighbour’s Garden: They Don’t Have the PestOff Bird Feeder

The Reason the Squirrels Are Fatter in your Neighbour’s Garden: They Don’t Have the PestOff Bird Feeder

When the leaves begin to change colours, and fall from the trees, we know that fall is just around the corner, and this could be the beginning of some garden issues, especially when it comes to feeding your feathery friends. But have no fear, there is a solution!

Imagine this, you have decided that bird watching is your new hobby and you would like to invite all your beautiful, dainty feathered friends to enjoy your garden and have a snack. You purchase an ordinary bird feeder and some bird seed from your nearby garden store, and are ready to let the lovely birds feed away. There’s only one problem, with the fall season, comes stubborn pests, gathering their food for the winter months. Instead of the sweet little songbirds enjoying their meal, you notice squirrels and other larger pests stealing all the birds’ expensive food! With a traditional bird feeder, these pests can easily access the seed, leaving nothing left for the birds! Not to worry, there are solutions to this problem, as there are many squirrel proof bird feeders on the market.  The best of these is the PestOff Bird Feeder. No longer will larger pests be able to take the bird seed from the feeder, with this new and innovative technology that is not only 100% squirrel proof, but also pest proof! When any larger pest, other than those pretty songbirds, land on the perch, the perch hatch moves downwards, blocking off access to the food. Once the pest has left the perch, the hatch automatically returns to its open position for the next songbird to feed!

This ground breaking technology has a HUGE capacity of 1.1 Quarts. The Roamwild PestOff bird feeder has been tested and proven to be completely pest proof. In addition, it comes in three different version to suit multiple bird seed types.  The best part is, this incredible squirrel proof bird feeder is automatically pest proof straight out of the box, there are no settings to adjust. In a review written by Janice Shipp, Senior Researcher at ‘Which? Magazine’ the verdict on the Bird Feeder is that it’s light weight, even when full.  With the PestOff Bird Feeder, there is no need to fear those annoying pests, you can finally relax and watch the birds enjoy, too!

What Birds Will Benefit from Your Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?

What Birds Will Benefit from Your Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?

Squirrel proof bird feeders are a fantastic way to attract birds to your yard, as they ensure that plentiful supplies of food are always available. This is done thanks to innovative technology, which makes sure squirrels and other pests aren’t able to pilfer the food you’ve set aside for the birds in your yard.

There are many different birds found in yards throughout the USA, however they aren’t as plentiful as they used to be. But which birds could you be helping when you leave them a hearty meal in your yard...?

Roamwild PestOff Bird feeder stops pests and only lets songbirds feed

Red-Winged Blackbird

This is one of the most common birds throughout the USA, found in all of the Lower 48 states. Just because it is common though, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need your help. If you put out a squirrel proof bird feeder in your garden, you’re almost certain to see a number of these attractive little creatures in your yard very soon.

Chipping Sparrow

This is the native sparrow species in the USA, however it has suffered from the introduction of the European sparrow, which is larger and more aggressive. They aren’t found in cities too much, but they are still common in the rural areas of the country, especially in wooded areas and agricultural areas. Thanks to their small size, they’ll have absolutely no problem benefitting from a squirrel proof bird feeder in your yard.

Swainson’s Thrush

If you want to hear some of the most melodic birdsong in your garden, you really want to attract this bird. With its beautiful voice, it lights up any yard, and will certainly be attracted by a bird feeder. You’ll find it throughout the north-east of the country, as well as in the higher areas of the west, plus it is also found all the way up in Alaska.

American Robin

Found in all areas of the Lower 48, apart from the hottest parts of the South, the American robin is one of the most abundant birds in the country. While more suited to forests and remoter areas, they are today found throughout cities, and are often spotted in peoples’ yards. If you want to attract this beautiful bird, a bird feeder could well be the answer!


There are many different types of warblers in the USA, however the most prolific is probably the yellow-rumped warbler. They don’t migrate in the winter, instead sticking around to eat berries and insects. The fact that they are in the country during the harshest time of the year means that they will really appreciate some extra food on the coldest days.

Top 10 bird feeding tips this winter

1. Know your birds

Different species eat different things. Finches like seeds; tits like fat. And starlings will eat just about anything. Make sure you're providing the right menu for your diners.  If you do not want to feed starlings then you could buy the 'Pest-Off' bird feeder by Roamwild, this prevents larger birds, squirrels and rats from feeding from your bird feeder.

2. Look out for leftovers...

Some of our own food can be good for birds – for example, fruit cake or mince pies, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, or apples and pears past their best. Try sprinkling grated mild cheese under trees and bushes for more timid birds like wrens and dunnocks.

3. But choose the right stuff...

Birds probably won't eat your unwanted Christmas Day sprouts. And putting out is a big no-no - it's so soft it'll stick to birds' feathers and stop them from keeping waterproof and warm.

4. Don't poison your pets!

Birds love dried fruit. But if you have a dog, don't put grapes, currants, raisins or sultanas within their reach. Vine fruits can be toxic to dogs.

5. Keep water in bird baths and ponds unfrozen

Birds need to drink and bathe every day - even when it's really cold outside. A pond or bird bath is great, but even an upturned bin lid or plant saucer can give birds the water they need.

6. Put out the right amount of food

Only put out what will get eaten during the day. This is important if you want to avoid unwanted visitors like rats. It'll also mean that there aren't big piles of mouldy food on your bird table.

7. Keep it clean!

Dirty bird feeders and bird tables can help spread diseases. Clean your feeders regularly to keep your visitors healthy and happy. And always wash your hands after feeding the birds!

8. Big Garden Birdwatch is coming...

The weekend of 24-25 January sees the world's biggest wildlife survey. If you're feeding the birds over the festive period, why not continue through January? All it takes is an hour of your time to watch the birds that use your garden - then just tell us what you saw.

9.  Use a Pest proof bird feeder!

Feed the song birds not the pests.  By using a pest proof bird feeder like the Roamwild Pest-Off bird feeder will only allow your songbirds to feed and not pest like larger birds, squirrels or rats.  The Pest-Off feeder is also rat proof.

10. Thank you for giving nature a home

By feeding the birds in your garden, on your balcony or at your window, you'll help them get through what can be a tough time of year. 

How about planning ahead and making your place even better for wildlife? Have fun!

Bird feeding

Feeding garden birds

The modern approach to garden bird feeding is to use a range of foods that support the specific nutritional requirements of a wide range of species over the course of a year. There is a scientific evidence highlighting the positive effects that the provision of supplementary food can have on birds. For example, the provision of supplementary food has been shown to improve overwinter survival in a number of species.

What foods should I provide?

Many garden birdwatchers provide black sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts as their staple foods. Alongside these, quality peanuts, nyjer seed and high-energy seed mixes are all greatly appreciated. There are other foods, e.g. sultanas (soak in water first) that are good for ground-feeding Blackbirds, while pinhead oats are ideal for fine-billed Dunnocks (but should not be left out in wet weather). Windfall apples and small amounts of finely grated mild cheese can be very useful, particularly in the winter, while peanut cake (a mix of fats and peanut flour) will attract species like Long-tailed Tit. Fat smeared into cracks in tree bark will be found by Treeecreepers and woodpeckers.  Live foods, such as mealworms, are expensive but are readily taken by Robins, Blackbirds and Wrens.

Black sunflower seeds:
Black sunflower seeds

Black sunflower seed was introduced in the early 1990s and revolutionised bird feeding by providing a high energy food in a readily accessible form. Black sunflower seeds have thinner husks than the more traditional striped sunflower seeds and so are easily to split open. Black sunflower seeds are a favourite of Greenfinches and tits, though they may be shunned if sunflower hearts are available nearby. The downside of feeding these seeds is the pile of husks left below the feeder.

Sunflower hearts:
sunflower hearts

Sunflower hearts are more expensive than black sunflower seeds but they have two advantages. First, the birds can feed more quickly because they do not have to remove the husk. Second, the lack of the husk means that there is no unsightly pile of husks left behind on the ground after the birds have had their fill.


Seed mixes:
Seed mixes

Seed mixes come in a vast range, differing in content and quality. Cheap mixes often have a high proportion of cereal. These larger grains are favoured by sparrows and pigeons. Better quality mixes have a lower cereal content and so are particularly suitable for finches and buntings. The best mixes are carefully balanced to cater for a range of species. Some now contain added suet pellets, fruit or pieces of mealworm.



Peanuts are high in oils and proteins and have been used for feeding birds form many decades. Always buy good quality peanuts from a reputable source and avoid any that show any signs of mould. Peanuts are best supplied behind a wire mesh so that a bird cannot take a whole peanut away. Keep you peanuts in a cool and dry environment and buy them in small quantities, so that they do not sit around for too long. Peanuts can be contaminated with a naturally occurring poison called aflatoxin.

Nyger seed


Nyger, sometimes seen spelt nyjer or sold as 'thistle' seed, is a relatively new addition to the bird feeding market and it is one that initially found favour with Goldfinches - which seemed to like the small size of these seeds. Because these seeds are so small they have to be supplied in a specially adapted feeder. They are oil rich and ideal for birds with delicate bills. There is some suggestion that Goldfinches now favour sunflower hearts, only moving onto the nyger when competition on other feeders is great. However, this may just be a local effect.


Mealworms by Colin Ryall

Mealworms are not worms but the larval stage of a beetle. It is the larvae of the Yellow Mealworm Tenebrio molitor that are used widely as food for wild birds, as well as captive birds, reptiles and amphibians. Another less common but similar species, the Dark Mealworm Tenebrio obscura is sometimes used, the larva being somewhat smaller in size.


How much to feed and when

Try to balance the amount of food that you provide against the number of birds coming in to feed. In this way you will avoid creating a surplus of food that might go off or attract unwanted visitors, such as rats. Good practice is to clear your bird table down each night, removing uneaten food and any droppings.

Feeding throughout the year is recommended by conservation organisations, as it is not just during the winter that birds are under stress. If you are going away on holiday, then reduce the amount of food provided in the days leading up to your departure so the birds don't find that their favoured resource has suddenly disappeared.