Many of us make the extra effort to feed the wild birds during the winter months when there is frost and snow on the ground, but it seems they might need our help during the summer months too.

If our weather is exceptionally dry the soil becomes hard which results in a shortage of earthworms, and affects the birds known as ground feeders.

If our summer weather turns suddenly cold or wet, a severe shortage of insect food can occur, leaving our wild birds with a very limited supply of food to eat.

Fortunately, we are able to help these delightful creatures throughout the year, but need to choose our summer foods wisely.

Most wild birds moult during the summer months and so need a diet that is rich in protein.  Black sunflower seeds, soaked sultanas, raisins and currants, meal-worms, mixes for insectivorous birds and good seed mixtures are all classed as high protein foods, that are beneficial to our wild birds.

Soft fruit such as apples, pears and grapes are also good when cut into small pieces, but any excess should be removed at the end of the day to avoid them going off.

During the summer months when wild birds breed, hard and bulky items such as peanuts and bread should be avoided, as they can be harmful if adult birds feed them to their nestlings.

Fat balls can go soft and rancid during the warmer months, so they should also be avoided unless you are using a commercially produced fat bar that is deemed suitable for warmer weather.

Good hygiene is vital, or we may do more harm than good, so your bird table and birdbath should be cleaned regularly.

During their breeding period wild birds need extra food just like many of our own pets do, so make a difference this summer and help the survival of the young wild birds by putting some extra food on your bird table.