Despite a commonly-held view that wild creatures only need help finding food during winter months, the RSPB is urging people to put out food this summer too.

Food shortages can occur at any time of year and this can be a major problem for garden birds especially, which are currently trying to find food to feed hungry chicks. Cool and wet conditions such as those experienced in many parts of the UK recently, can make it very difficult for birds to find their staple insect food and in particular caterpillars.

Sparrow (Photo: RSPB images)

Richard James, a wildlife advisor at the RSPB said “Now is the height of the birds breeding season so there are many busy parents looking for food to feed their hungry offspring. The chilly, damp weather means that insects can be harder to find so the adult birds could benefit from a helping hand.”

“Birds need to find food for their young brood quickly and don’t want to be away from them for too long, so having a supply of seeds, mealworms and suitable kitchen leftovers can really help them out.”

The RSPB actually sells a third more bird food in June than it does in December. The charity believes the food may be eaten more quickly than in other months because birds see it as a convenience and, just like some busy mums and dads, opt for the easier option to keep their children happy.

And it’s not just birds that need our help at this time of year. The RSPB is asking people to leave out food for hedgehogs too, such as tinned dog or cat food, crushed biscuits or specialist hedgehog food which can brought from the charity’s online shop. (See note 2). Never give hedgehogs milk as it can cause stomach problems.


The RSPB is asking gardeners to plant insect friendly flowers too, so butterflies, bees and other insects can thrive. Honeysuckle, dahlia and cornflower are among those that are attractive to look at and nectar rich for insects.

“You can do as much or as little as you like. Simple steps such as putting out food or installing a nestbox can make a big difference. You could even go on to provide ponds, hedgerows and insect homes too to really make your home an excellent home for nature.” said Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director.


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