What Can Birds Eat From the Kitchen?

Updated: May 17, 2024

Wondering what birds can eat? Attract birds with occasional treats that you have stocked in the kitchen. Offer peanut butter, raisins and more.

What can birds eat? Birds visit backyard bird feeders for seed, peanuts, suet, mealworms and more, but you can also feed birds occasional treats from your kitchen. Just look in your pantry or refrigerator for these kitchen foods that birds will love.


bird eating apple, what can birds eatPetel/Birds & Blooms

Birds that eat apples: 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.


Birds that eat bananas: northern cardinal, gray catbird, Canada jay, scarlet tanager.

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

Psst—here’s 10 foods you aren’t feeding birds yet.


Birds that eat eggshells: 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.

Follow these tips for a successful nesting season.

Melon, Pumpkin and Squash Seeds

Birds that eat melon, pumpkin and squash seeds: Northern cardinal, evening grosbeak, red-breasted nuthatch, tufted titmouse.

Serving suggestion: Roast seeds in oven first. Do not apply salt or seasonings.

Learn how to recycle pumpkins for birds and wildlife.

pine cone bird feederCourtesy Debbie Kaiman Tillinghast
White-breasted nuthatch eating peanut butter on a pinecone

Peanut Butter

Birds that eat peanut butter: 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.

Discover what birds eat oranges from fruit bird feeders.


Birds that eat raisins: 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. 

P.S. Raisins are also a great addition to suet. Check out our guide to making suet for birds.