9 Foods You Should Never Feed to Birds
Can birds eat bread? Not all people foods are safe for birds. Leave these nine foods off the menu to keep your backyard birds happy and healthy.
When you see small, sweet creatures hopping along, it seems so harmless to draw them in with whatever snacks you have available. Though the urge is fierce to feed birds bread and other convenience foods, try to resist. Dishes people consume are generally bad for birds in the same way that junk food is bad for our systems. “Malnutrition is certainly a risk if birds aren’t getting the food that they need,” says John Rowden, senior director for bird-friendly communities at Audubon. “They can be undernourished, which makes them more susceptible to disease, so it could cause health or lethal consequences.” With that knowledge, here’s a list of nine nibbles to avoid feeding your feathered friends.
Check out safe foods that birds can eat from the kitchen.
People often ask if birds can eat bread and if bread is bad for birds. Because bread causes birds to become full quickly, fliers may skip foods with actual nutritional value. Learn what foods you can feed to ducks.
It might seem like a good idea to set out raw meat as a winter treat, but it can go rancid and spoil—and attract unwanted guests. “As soon as you put raw meat out it starts to transform because it’s outside of a refrigerated environment,” John says. Check out 5 ways to create a bird-safe backyard.
Seeds and Nuts Sold for People
Sunflower seeds and legumes made for humans often have large amounts of salt. Birdseed is produced specifically for birds, leaving out the extra sodium. Or instead of shopping for birdseed, save time and money by growing native plants that produce fruit, seeds and nectar. Favorites include crabapple trees, sunflowers and salvia. Attract more backyard birds by feeding peanuts.
This fat is very salty, has additives and spoils easily. To make suet, get high-quality fat straight from the butcher, before it gets processed. Get answers to common questions about feeding suet to birds.
While this popular snack is often a staple at outdoor gatherings, just like when birds eat bread, it doesn’t provide proper nutrition. Keep these salty snacks for the people at your next picnic. Check out the 10 best foods you aren’t feeding birds yet.
You’d think birds could use the calories and sugar, but honey can grow mold in addition to becoming troublesome and sticky. Check out top questions about hummingbird feeders answered by experts.
Red Food Coloring
Dog and cat food lacks nutrition for birds and may attract mice, rats or other backyard pests. Psst—here’s how to keep cats from killing birds.
In the end, it all comes down to mindset. “In their heart of hearts, people are trying to do the right thing, and what they want to do is help birds,” John says. “Great; we want to encourage that, it’s just finding the right foods.”
Next, discover the 3 types of seeds and feeders birds love best.