This is the second (and final) post in the run up to this year's RSPB Garden Birdwatch (26-27th January) where I'm reviewing relevant products which you may find useful.
The birds are going mad on the feeders at the moment. It's not surprising after Friday's snow! So it's a 'thumbs up' (so to speak) from them for the Everyday bird food I'm trialling from Nottcutts. As you can see from the above picture, it's pretty similar to other bird feed mixes available on the market.
The main ingredient is wheat, followed by the black sunflower seeds, then kibbled maize, red dari (the commercial name for sorghum apparently) and white millet (reminds me of feeding my pet budgie when I was little). Vegetable oil's been added to get the calorific value up to 404 per 100g.
To be honest the birds are going for the peanut or sunflower seed only feeders first, then turning their attention to the mixed seed ones. At particularly busy times then everything on offer is popular. According to the packet, the seed mix is deemed most suitable for feeders (followed by tables and just a single star rating for ground) and is claimed to attract the widest variety of birds*.
In the past I've found quite a lot of the wheat gets missed by the birds and germinates to grow under where I have my bird feeders. To remedy this I also had a go at making some 'fat balls' by adding the feed to melted lard in a 50:50 ratio. I re-used the mince pie cases from Christmas to hold the resultant mixture, so the description 'fat ball' is rather tentative. The birds don't seem to mind though and it does seem to be reducing the amount of seed spilt. Thank goodness the chaffinches are around to hoover up what does reach the ground!
Overall verdict: the birds seem to like it, though I can't really see how this version differs that greatly from other similar mixes on the market. Therefore, it probably boils down to price and availability on whether this bird food is the choice for your bird feeders. I was going to give you details of an online discount voucher so you could try some for yourself, but I see Notcutts are revamping their website and sadly aren't taking orders at the moment. I'll put the details up on my Offers Page ready for future reference as the code is valid until June 2013.
* = listed as tits, bramblings, finches, bunting, dunnock, sparrow, linnet, nuthatch, siskin and yellowhammer. I'd say the blackbirds, thrushes, robins and pigeons round here don't turn their beaks up at it either ;)
Disclosure: I received a 1kg sample packet from Notcutts for independent review purposes.
Related Post: last week's review was of the identification guide, Birdsong.
If you're looking for guidance on how to make your garden more attractive to birds, you may also like to read my review of The Birdwatcher's Garden.