Watching birds feed at a feeder from the comfort of your home is an amazing way to spend your free time. Moreover, you will be surprised to see the variety of birds there is to see when they come to the feeder.
You can also make a small difference in the bird’s lives in addition to feeling closer to wildlife. Further, with increasing habitat loss and food scarcity, these creatures need all the help they can get.
So, if you plan on fixing a feeder in your backyard, you must be wondering what to feed birds. Well, it is not as easy as you might think it is to pick the right food for birds.
Hence, we have crafted this guide to help you understand what to feed birds and what not to. So, take a look and get ready to see some regular visitors to your backyard.
What To Feed Birds From The Kitchen
Let’s start with something simple, so what to feed birds that are available in the kitchen?
There are a lot of things in your kitchen that can keep your garden guests happy. Let’s take a look at some of them below:
Fruits and Vegetables
Birds enjoy many fruits and vegetables that you generally eat. You can plant fruiting trees and shrubs to attract birds such as mockingbirds, catbirds, sapsuckers, and orioles.
Alternatively, you can fix some fruits in your bird feeder. We have listed some of them below:
- Melon seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Raw vegetables
If you are feeding seeds, you can bake them in the oven until it gets dry. Then, you can spread them on a platform feeder for the words.
Birds love to eat nuts even if it has gone stale. Similar to bread and rice, it is advisable to avoid feeding birds seasoned or salted nuts. Some of the most popular birds that enjoy nuts are acorn woodpecker, black-billed magpie, blue jay, brown creeper, common grackle, and a blue tit.
- Brazil nuts
- Hickory nuts
- Pine nuts
- Macadamia nuts
Bread and Cereals
Apart from fresh fruits and vegetables, you can feed the birds some cereal and bread as well. Most of the birds that may visit your backyard enjoy cereals such as oat, cheerios, and bran flakes.
You can crush the cereals before feeding them using a rolling pin. This step will prevent them from having to swallow large chunks. Most importantly, remember to feed cereals that do not have any added marshmallows or sugar coats.
Although birds enjoy eating pieces of bread, they do not provide the required nutrition. Hence, it is advisable to give just enough breadcrumbs and not too much. Moreover, choose multigrain bread over white bread.
You can also feed them other baked goods such as biscuit crumbs, small bits of cakes, and cookies. However, refrain from feeding anything too sweet, frosted, or jellies.
Rice and Other Items
While many varieties of birds like to eat cooked rice or pasta, some do not like it. However, you can try feeding them baked rice now and then. Moreover, do not add salt or sauce with the rice or pasta.
Animal fat is a good source of energy for birds. That is why suet cakes for birds contain animal fat. Hence, you can feed them bacon grease with some birdseed. You can mold it into any shape you like and hang it outside for the birds to enjoy.
Other Food Items from the Kitchen
Apart from bread, rice, and nuts, you can feed the birds various things from the kitchen. You can even feed them some kitchen scraps such as eggshells. Birds eat eggshells, and especially female birds need them when laying eggs.
The eggshells can provide them with calcium. You can bake the eggshells to sterilize and make them brittle. This step will make the eggshells crumble easily, which the birds can digest easily.
Other than this human food and its remains, you can feed the birds, dog, and cat food as well. However, animal food can attract unwanted intruders such as squirrels and raccoons.
What To Feed Birds During Different Seasons
Generally, birds find a good supply of food throughout the year except for the winters. However, food shortages can occur unexpectedly at any time of the year. So, feeding them throughout the year can provide them with a healthy supply of food all around.
Furthermore, you will have to feed the birds according to the seasons. This way, you can help them survive through tough times better.
The Winter season is the hardest for the birds since there will be a shortage of natural food. So, feeding them high-energy food can help them refuel and maintain their fat reserves. Also, consider refilling the bird feeders twice a day during cold snaps.
It would be better to provide them with a high-fat content like fat balls, fat and seed balls, and suet blocks. You can also feed them dried mealworms, suet pellets or make a homemade bird cake.
Autumn is a good season for birds with a plentiful source of food. So, don’t be surprised if you find fewer birds coming to your feeders. Also, you can keep a minimal amount of food in the backyard.
To prevent food from going to waste, you can test it out at the beginning of the month. A seed mix and some nuts are the perfect choices of food for this time of the year.
Summer also provides plenty of food sources for birds; still, you can help them get through the harsh sun. You can feed them with rice, nuts, or bread crumbs.
Moreover, you can keep some water in your backyard to help them quench their thirst. You can also feed the birds seeds and bird cakes during the summer months.
Spring is a time of bounty, high energy, and nesting for birds. This is the time of the year they start building nests, so you need to make some changes in your feeders. You can give the usual food along with some worms for mother birds to feed their young.
You can place some dried-out dead worms or live worms since they are the best source of proteins for birds and their chicks. Also, you can add some seeds to the bird feeders. Some of the best seeds for the winter are black sunflower seeds, peanut-free seed mixes, and pumpkin seeds.
What Not To Feed Birds
Some foods can be toxic to these lovely wild birds. So, we have made a list of food to avoid feeding the birds. Take a look at it below:
Birds cannot digest milk properly. Hence, it is better to avoid giving them milk or milk products since it can cause stomach upset in birds.
Chocolates and Sweets
If you put some chocolates and sweets in the bird feeders, they will likely eat them well. However, it is very toxic to their health since it contains caffeine and theobromine. It can cause diarrhea and seizures.
Avocado is a superfood for humans. However, it is highly toxic for birds as it contains persin. It can cause lethargy, heavy breathing, and even sudden death in birds.
To Sum Up
It is important to know what to feed birds as well as how to feed them. Hence, it is advisable to put food in the feeders according to demand. Moreover, remember to clean the containers regularly.
Choose feeders suitable for the type of food you add. Also, make sure to place the feeders away from predators’ reach but close enough for the birds to reach easily.