Out of Bird Food? Look in Your Cereal Box…

Have you ever looked out at your bird feeder, only to discover that it is empty and surrounded by hungry birds?

What do you do if you are out of bird food?

Well, did you know that you only have to look in your pantry for a quick and easy treat for your birds?


Crisped rice, bran flakes and toasted oats

Birds not only enjoy cereal, they love it.

In fact, certain types of cereal attract different types of birds.

White Wing Dove

Crush bran flakes with a rolling pin and set outside in your tray feeder or even under shrubs.  You may see doves, juncos, quail and sparrows eagerly eating up this tasty treat.



Crisped rice mixed with some peanut butter or meat drippings attract cardinals, chickadees, jays, woodpeckers and more.


Northern Mockingbird

Little children aren’t the only ones who enjoy toasted oat cereal, so do mockingbirds, blackbirds, chickadees and jays.

Other types of cereal to try are corn flakes or even better, cereal with fruit and/or nuts added – just be sure to crush with a rolling pin before feeding to the birds.

You can also combine cereal with your bird food.  Adding peanut butter, peanut oil or meat drippings to cereal will entice birds even further.

**Do not feed birds sugar-coated cereals or those with marshmallows added.**

So, the next time you have just a little bit of cereal left at the bottom of the box, feed it your birds, or you can store it in a large resealable plastic bag in your freezer to have on hand just in case you run out of bird food.

Have you ever fed cereal to birds?  What type of cereal did you use and what kind of birds did you attract?  Please tell us!

  1. Tuire says

    Oat meal flakes, bread leftovers well as corn flakes and dried up raisins. I also add them to my homemade suets. This is a good reminder how to use those stale left over flakes.

  2. Darlene says

    What a good way for a special treat for our Feathered Friends. I watched a small female Cardinal try to land on our feeder, but she seemed to be spooked. After several times trying, Mom fed her. It was really cute to watch. Now I will give the special treats about once a week.
    Thanks for the tip

  3. Kimberly says

    That’s really cool because I just cleaned out my pantry and I was afraid the old stale cereal woyld’ve had to hit the compost…now I’ll put it in the bird feeder. Thanks for the great tip!

  4. Cari says

    Yes, we have been using cereal as feed for a few months now. We had purchased FiberOne, didn’t like the taste ourselves, and decided to put a handful out in a dish so that it wouldn’t go to waste…we put it out every few days (when it isn’t going to rain), discovering that the squirrels and chipmunks are eating it – and it seems to be keeping them away from the birdfeeders!

  5. Joan Hamilton says

    When the weather is really cold here in Ohio, I take peanut butter and put it around the sticks that my cockatiel eats his honey stick from, roll it in bird seed, and use the hanger to hang it around in the shrubs in back of the house. The small birds especially like it. I put black oiled sunflower seeds in the feeders, even the small birds like those and buy cracked corn for the doves, feed them on the groung as they seldom get in the feeders.

  6. Lar says

    I just tried crushed up rice krispies, triscuits and a packet of maple brown sugar oatmeal, they aren’t buying it!!

  7. Elena says

    I toast oatmeal and mix with chopped apples, cranberries, peanut butter and wild bird seed mixed in for when we are getting a freeze warning. Also, I use bacon grease mixed with peanut butter and seed feozen into cupcake pans, then put them out in an old onion mesh bag hung on branches. They love it!

  8. Jason McNair says

    I tossed a bunch of stale cereal in my open compost bin a few days ago. Now, I have about 50 sparrows hovering around my bin and ignoring my feeders. They keep looking at my window like they want some more. Sorry fellas, my kids love cereal and it is rare for them to let it get stale in my house. I may have to make a trip to the $1 store to see if they have some cheap, no sugar cereal boxes next time I am running low on feed.

  9. Alan says

    I ran out of bird seed today 3/6/15 and gave them some Honey-Comb Cereal because it had just snowed. All of them ate it…several blue jays, several cardinals, 1 woodpecker, assorted finches and a group of birds I couldn’t identify -black with yellow beaks. I’m in Maryland.

  10. Susan Harrison says

    Hello….A baby Bluejay was brought to me by a man who found him sitting on the side of the road. He was still in pinfeathers and we believe a hawk or some other bird dropped him as he was far too young to leave his nest. I raised him on raw hamburger mixed with bread crumbs and raw egg yolk, given on a toothpick. He had an injured wing which never improved so I could not release him. He is now almost 13 years old. I feed him a Kaytee wild bird seed mix with fruit and nuts included, cheerios, fruit loops, sugar pops, honey combs, sugar crisp, special K flakes…no I do not crush them, weiner, blogna, toast, kraft dinner, and peanuts in the shell…though usually the unshelled peanuts end up in his water dish…no idea why as he knows well enough how to shell them. He also eats unsalted sunflower seed. I am about to try him on dry Red River cereal and was looking in here to see if anyone else had fed that?

  11. Tamboliya says

    I tried putting my expired Oatmeal out in bird feeders many times and they always reject it. They never eat it. :( It bums me out. :(

    • adam says

      try toasting your oatmeal:) i.e. put it on a pan and put it in the oven for a bit. crisps it up a bit, mix in some other things birds will like.

      best of luck

  12. Dianel says

    So pleased to learn rice crispies okay. I also mix dry poirridge oats with bird feed for city pigeons every day. Not a scrap ever left behind. By the way, salt as well as sugar is bad for birds so best to avoid if possible.

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