Feeding Birds with Kitchen Items

Attract backyard birds with these common kitchen food items.


Biggest fans: Eastern bluebird, pine grosbeak, gray catbird, northern cardinal, northern flicker, American robin, scarlet tanager, cedar waxwing and red-bellied woodpecker.

Serving suggestion: Slice them up and remove the seeds. Or slice them in half, scooping out part of the fruit and filling with sugar-water, and skewer one on a feeder to attract hummingbirds, like the one seen here.


Biggest fans: Northern cardinal, gray catbird, gray jay, scarlet tanager.

Serving suggestion: Remove the peel and cut in half lengthwise.

Cooked pasta and rice

Biggest fans: Blue jay, brown thrasher, tufted titmouse, red-bellied woodpecker.

Serving suggestion: Serve both plain, and chop pasta into little bits to make it easier to eat.


Biggest fans: Any bird eating your seed, as well as purple martin and barn and tree swallow.

Serving suggestion: Bake clean shells at 250 degrees for 15 minutes. Crush and set out in a dish, or mix in birdseed. They’re a fine source of calcium for egg laying.

Hard cheese

Biggest fans: Gray catbird, brown thrasher, Carolina wren.

Serving suggestion: Dice hard cheese into little chunks, and be sure there’s no mold, which could be harmful. Please avoid soft cheeses.

Melon, pumpkin and squash seeds

Biggest fans: Northern cardinal, evening grosbeak, red-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse.

Serving suggestion: Roast in oven first.

Peanut butter

Biggest fans: Too many to name, including black-capped chickadee, brown creeper, white-breasted n­uthatch, wood thrush, wrens and woodpeckers.

Serving suggestion: Drop a dollop in a dried-out orange half left from oriole season, or spread over a pinecone.


Biggest fans: Eastern bluebird, northern cardinal, gray catbird, northern mockingbird, orioles, American robin, scarlet tanager, brown thrasher, wood thrush, cedar waxwing, and red-bellied and red-headed woodpecker.

Serving suggestion: Soak raisins in warm water first so they’re soft and easier for birds to bite.