Really Wild Birdfood Co
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older people

As the years wear on, buying Christmas presents for elderly relatives can be a tough task. After all, how many pairs of slippers and festive jigsaws can one person have?

Luckily, with Really Wild Bird Food, you don’t have to resign yourself to rehashed ideas from years gone by.

When Werther’s Originals won’t cut it and there’s no room left in the whisky cabinet for a new addition, a bird-friendly gift from RWBF can be just the ticket. More...

As the summer begins to drift further and further away in the rear-view mirror, the days begin to get shorter and the temperature predictably drops with seasonal regularity. There’s no escaping it: the autumn has undoubtedly arrived and winter is once again well on its way.

With that being said, now is the perfect time to begin thinking about how you plan on feeding your feathery garden visitors over the coming months. 

As the winter draws near, the colder weather makes life tough for many garden birds, particularly when it comes to sourcing food. Give your colourful companions a helping hand this year by providing them with a winter bird feeder to see them through the season. More...

The UK Farmland Bird Indicator is made up of 19 different species of birds that are dependent on British farmland. This means that these birds they are predominantly reliant on farmland environments, unable to thrive outside of this habitat.

Of these 19 different species, a number of them are in stark decline. While the woodpigeon and the jackdaw have seen a widespread increase over the years, there are several species of farmland birds that have seen a dramatic decrease. More...

Bird feeding in garden

Would you like to attract more birds into your garden? Perhaps your garden has been looking a little lifeless and in need of some feathered friends?

Wild birds are appreciative of food, water and space to shelter, particularly if you live in a built-up residential area where greenery is sparse.

That's why we want to inspire you to turn your garden into a haven for birds! Adding some simple features to your garden can make all the difference. More...

bird bathing in water

Arguably more important than providing food for our garden birds is ensuring they have access to fresh, clean water for bathing and drinking.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that their need for water is met elsewhere, particularly if you live near a river or lake, but these large bodies of water don't always suit smaller birds.

Providing a bird bath is a great way to attract birds into your garden. If you have a water feature or running water, they will thank you all the more! More...

Are you a bird lover who’s trying to attract more unusual and wild bird species into your garden?

Having a good understanding of the best wild bird food to offer in your garden will dramatically improve your chances of drawing a wide range of wild birds into your garden.

For many wild birds, the only food available to them is whatever can be scavenged from the local shrubs, bushes and, of course, the ground. So, as you can imagine - it's slim pickings. More...

A much-loved garden-dweller across the globe, the songful sparrow is a welcome addition to any garden, providing a cheery sight and a wholesome ambience.

However, a decline in numbers has led to concern over the humble sparrow’s ability to survive in the UK. 

In fact, certain areas of the UK (such as Yorkshire and London) have seen the population of House Sparrows in particular drop by a staggering 70% between 1995 and 2017, according to the Breeding Bird Survey 2018. More...

live mealworms

The breeding season of April - July is a great time to feed live foods to your garden birds if you don't already!

Of the many varieties of garden birds whose numbers are in decline in the UK, it is the insectivores who are the worst hit. The lack of mature, native trees in our gardens, and ever-decreasing areas of natural woodland means that birds are not provided with the insects they need to feed their young, resulting in fewer eggs and fledglings. This makes live foods a more conscientious choice, particularly in colder weather when insects will hide away in warm places, and especially when you consider that the birds' activity rate during the breeding season can be 100 times greater than during the Winter months.

Live mealworms and wax worms are easily-digestible, with a high moisture content which is essential for fledglings who cannot leave the nest to drink. Other sources of moisture for them include unripe seeds, earthworms and caterpillars, but there is growing evidence to show that the peak time for earthworms and caterpillars is possibly earlier than the peak fledgling explosion, so live mealworms and wax worms are a great option to bridge that gap. It has been proven that feeding live foods can have a significant positive effect on the number of chicks reared by their parents.

They are also rich in essential protein (50.4%), very safe to feed due to their vegetarian diet (no spread of nasty diseases), and are much easier to store and use than you might think. 

If the mealworms come supplied in a tub then it should already have a ventilated lid and have some bran inside to keep them going, so you can just keep them cool until you're ready to use them - ideally 8-10 degrees C. They can go in the fridge (although much less than 5 degrees C will kill them), but this can make them a bit dormant and less wriggly - and it's the wriggling which attracts the birds' keen eye. Temperatures above 22 degrees C will make them pupate very quickly.

They do not need light - in fact, dark is good - and if you notice their food has depleted then you can add a bit of carrot or potato peelings, oats or apple. They can be kept this way for several months at the correct temperature.

Bulk bags of live worms are more economical but need to be unpacked on arrival. They can be stored in a large open plastic container such as a cat litter tray or similar, at a maximum depth of 1". There is no need for a lid as long as the sides are deep and clean, and the container is placed somewhere where it won't be knocked over!

 mealworms

Here is a very informative Q&A from our founder and resident vet, Lesley:

 

Q. Which birds eat live mealworms?

A. Well - the insect and invertebrate eaters! Robins, sparrows, tits, starlings, blackbirds, wrens and thrushes.

Q. What are live mealworms?

A. They are the larvae of the Flour Beetle (tenebrio molitor) - a native British insect which eats flour, meal, grain and other related crops. They are vegetarian, which is important because when fresh, they don't smell!

Q. Where do your live mealworms come from?

A. Our live mealworms are grown in the UK for us and are British bred! There are many companies importing mealworms from Europe, however ours will be fresher as they won't have travelled far.

Q. If I order some, what can I expect to receive? 

A. Live mealworms are delivered by Royal Mail. They will arrive in a cardboard box and within the box will be either some plastic tubs, or larger quantities within a white polypropylene bag with a cable-tied top. Please don't worry if the plastic tubs don't have air holes punched in them - the lids are made of breathable material so the mealworms will be fine.

Q. Do the mealworms smell?

A. No! There is no smell given off by mealworms if they are kept in the correct conditions. There will be some bran or clean newspaper in with them when they arrive. For those that are in tubs, you need to do nothing. If you have bought a larger sack of them, we would suggest transferring them into a shallow, smooth-sided tray or tub.

Q. How long will they last?

A. Being larvae, their longevity is dependent on the conditions and temperature they are stored at. The cooler they are the longer they will last. If you find that there is a lot of black poo appearing, the chances are it is too warm for them or they are too deep in their container. 

Q. If I order them today, when will I receive them?

A. All live foods are sent by Royal Mail. They, therefore, take 3-5 working days and will arrive separately from the rest of your Really Wild Bird Food order (which should arrive next working day). Orders received before 12.00 on Monday to Thursday will be dispatched on the same day. Orders received on a Friday to Sunday will be dispatched on the following Monday. We are ultra careful around bank holidays (especially during the warm Summer months) - in case they get held up in a warm sorting office somewhere, speeding up their metamorphosis. Please order a few days earlier around a bank holiday.

Q. I would like to receive a regular weekly order, can you do this?

A. Of course! We have many customers who request that we send out scheduled live mealworms to them, either on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Please just give us a call or email us with your request.

Q. What sort of feeder should I offer live mealworms in?

A. They need to be contained in a smooth steep-sided container (otherwise you will find they wriggle up and out and will be gone in a flash!). Ideally, something with a roof/overhang to protect them from the rain and sun and drainage holes if there is no roof. Windows feeders lend themselves to mealworms, and it's fab to get a really close-up view of your robin and other smalls birds visiting. Caged feeders are also useful since they limit access to the bigger birds which can devour a whole pot in an instant!

Would you like to purchase some live or dried mealworms for your feathered friends? Here at Really Wild Bird Food, we offer a variety of mealworm treats and feeders for you to choose from! Click the link below to shop:

View our range of live and dried mealworms for birds here >

The official nesting season is defined as being 1st March to 31st July inclusive, so is well underway now. You may have noticed that farmers have finished hedge cutting, as it is illegal to disturb nests beyond 1st March, and you may also have seen squabbling birds fighting for territory. They may start to gather nesting materials in a likely spot, but these might not become occupied as it's usually just for practice, or to show off to a prospective mate.

With the possibility of another cold spell, it is recommended to continue with your high-energy Winter feeding until around mid-March. The birds still need to maintain Winter energy levels, and of course will need a boost for all the nest-building and showing off! 

Once things really start heating up into Spring, it is time to change your feeding routine.

  • Fat balls can easily go soft and rancid in the heat so should be avoided. Commercially made fat products are suitable for use in the summer, but may not be as popular and so any uneaten product should be discarded after three weeks. Our RWBF High Energy Fledgling mix (available from 1st April) contains MINI suet pellets, especially to reduce the choking risk for chicks while providing them with the sustenance they need.
  • Peanuts should only ever be fed from a mesh peanut feeder so that small chunks are taken back to the nest, reducing the choking risk. Seed mixes containing peanut granules are a good option.
  • Fruit such as raisins, sultanas, soft apples and pears cut in half, or even bananas and grapes can be fed.
  • Mealworms and 'buggy' treats are good to provide in case of natural insect shortages, such as during a cold or wet spell in Spring/Summer, or a particularly dry spell where earthworms cannot be picked out of the hard ground. 
  • If a lot of food is being left in Spring/Summer then reduce the amount given. It could be that there is plenty of natural food around - great! But it's best to minimise the amount of food left in and around feeders so as not to attract vermin and disease.
  • Consider helping the natural food sources - for example some plants are great at supporting caterpillars so you could grow the plant instead of providing the food itself, and let nature run its course. It need not be complicated - holly, ivy and nettles are popular!
  • Live foods such as live mealworms and waxworms are a good choice, to supplement the birds' natural diet.

We love hearing our customers' tales of their garden birds when they phone or email to place an order.

Susan Thompson phoned recently, and we were pleased to hear that she had seen a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers in her garden, one of them possibly a juvenile. She was concerned that they seemed hungry but couldn't access the peanuts in her squirrel-proof peanut feeder, however, they had been feasting heartily on a suet-filled coconut and hadn't yet discovered the multiple suet block holder on the other side of the garden.

Susan sent us this snap of the woodpecker on the coconut feeder, with apologies for the condensation on the window making the image slightly unclear. Of course, if she had opened the window or stepped outside to take a photo then the subject would have flown off instantly. Bird photography is notoriously difficult! She is hoping to have better luck in the summer when she can sit outside quietly in a corner. 

woodpecker

Susan says that both woodpeckers continue to visit daily and they have now discovered the suet block holders, although the smaller one still loves tackling the suet-filled coconut feeders when he gets a chance amongst the starlings.  Her smaller birds don't get a look-in either when the starlings and jackdaws are around, so she has moved the coconuts away from the other seed and nut feeders, into a hedge, so they can feed in peace sometimes.  As a result, the greenfinches (nicknamed 'The Green Party with a majority rule' by Susan) - who previously dominated the seed feeders and wouldn't touch the coconuts - have found them and really enjoy swinging away.

The latest development is that some blackbirds, which Susan had never before seen feeding above the ground, are now using the coconuts - probably after watching the tits, greenfinches and starlings going mad for them. The empty coconut shells have now been filled with our Tidy Garden Suet Boost which is proving very popular. Susan says that one of the blackbirds is much more adept at getting a good grip on the coconut shells than the other one, who wobbles and flutters off and needs to modify its technique somewhat.

Susan's quest for a good photo continues... she says she missed a classic shot recently of the woodpecker feeding from a coconut with a blackbird queueing on one side and a robin on the other.

What a fantastic lot of garden activity in Cambridge. Keep up the good work Susan!

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