Is It True That Hitler Had a Parrot? [Know The Truth Now!]December 27, 2023
Why Birds Aren’t Coming to the Feeder? [Causes & Solutions]December 27, 2023
Numerous birds in their natural habitats can source their own food, yet studies indicate that supplemental feeding can significantly enhance their livelihoods.
At times, certain bird species may struggle to endure periods of natural food scarcity, which can arise at any point throughout the year. Providing additional food sources can be pivotal in helping more birds withstand these challenging times, such as the harsh winter months.
However, some uncertainty often arises regarding the appropriate and inappropriate foods for feeding your garden’s feathered friends. To ensure their optimal survival, this article shifts the focus from what you can feed wild birds to what you should avoid. Let’s dive into this critical topic!
What Not To Feed Wild Birds?
Let’s talk about what not to feed the wild birds. Continue reading the list of foods below:
Bread is often considered a classic choice for feeding birds, but it’s not as beneficial as many believe. While bread isn’t inherently dangerous for birds, it mainly serves as filler with limited nutritional value. Feeding birds bread means they might consume less of the essential, nutrient-rich foods they need for survival.
Additionally, stale or moldy bread can be detrimental to birds. So, while repurposing stale bread as bird food might seem like a good idea instead of discarding it, this practice could potentially cause harm.
The best approach is to minimize or altogether avoid giving bread to birds. If you feed them bread, it should be in minimal quantities, just a few crumbs.
2: Fruit Pits Or Seeds
While most birds are naturally drawn to fruits in the wild, it’s important to note that the pits or seeds of certain fruits should be avoided. Many of these seeds and pits contain traces of a cyanide compound that is toxic to the heart and can be harmful to small birds.
Therefore, when offering fruits like apples, pears, cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums to garden birds, removing the pits or seeds first is crucial.
This ensures that these fruits are safe for bird consumption without the risk posed by these potentially harmful components.
Also, Read: 25 Birds With Red Heads (+Pictures Included)
3: Salt Or Salty Food
Salt is a common ingredient in many processed foods that people might consider leaving out for birds. It’s unlikely that anyone would intentionally offer birds pure salt, such as sea salt or rock salt.
However, the concern lies in the salt content of processed food scraps often placed on bird tables.
A typical example is bacon fat. While unsalted animal fat can be a suitable food for wild birds (though it should not be fed to domestic birds and is illegal to feed to chickens and other poultry), bacon is not recommended due to the high salt content used in its curing process.
The same caution applies to other processed foods; always check for high salt content and refrain from offering it to birds if it’s present.
Additionally, bread, commonly given to birds, contains significant salt, another reason to avoid using it as bird food.
4: Garlic And Onions
Onions and garlic might be unexpected additions to the list of foods to avoid for wild birds, especially considering they are plant-based. However, these everyday kitchen staples should not be part of a bird’s diet.
Onions contain sulfur compounds that can irritate the lining of a bird’s mouth, esophagus, and crop. This irritation can lead to the development of ulcers, which may result in secondary infections.
Similarly, garlic contains a compound called allicin, which can harm birds. Allicin can lead to anemia and weakness, making it unsuitable for bird consumption. This is why you won’t find garden birds frequenting places where garlic-heavy cuisine, like French restaurants, is served!
Chocolate, a treat many love, is unfortunately toxic to birds, even in small quantities. This is due to theobromine, a bitter alkaloid from the cacao plant (which produces cocoa beans), and caffeine.
Both of these substances can cause serious health issues in birds, including vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures, and can even be fatal.
Thus, while it might be tempting to share this sweet treat with your garden visitors, it’s essential to resist. Instead, if you wish to offer them a sweet treat, choose safe fruits (ensuring any pits are removed). Chocolate should never be given to birds, no matter how small the amount.
Milk is not suitable for birds, as they lack the necessary digestive enzymes to process it. While milk is a beneficial source of protein and fat for humans, it can at least cause digestive upset in birds, and in some cases, the effects could be much more severe.
Therefore, you should not place a saucer of milk on your bird table for your feathered visitors.
Avocado is a harmful food for birds. It contains a substance called persin, which can be toxic to birds, leading to serious health issues such as heart damage, respiratory difficulties, weakness, and, in extreme cases, sudden death.
Although it’s unlikely that someone would intentionally feed whole or sliced avocado to birds, it’s essential to ensure that no avocado is present in any food scraps you might be considering for bird feeding.
8: Desiccated Coconut
Unlike the dried coconut often used in bird feed blends, desiccated coconut should not be fed to birds due to its significantly lower moisture content. This type of coconut can be dangerous for birds if not adequately soaked beforehand.
The risk lies in its ability to swell inside a bird’s stomach after ingestion, potentially blocking nutrient absorption and leading to fatal consequences.
Given these risks, it’s safest to avoid offering desiccated coconut to birds altogether. On the other hand, fresh coconut is a safe and enjoyable treat for garden birds. It’s important to differentiate between these two forms of coconut when considering what to feed your feathered visitors.
What Can You Feed Wild Birds?
Feeding wild birds can be a delightful way to attract and support these feathered friends in your garden. The key is to offer nutritious and safe foods for their specific dietary needs.
Here are some bird-friendly options:
- Sunflower seeds: Highly nutritious and appealing to a wide variety of birds.
- Peanuts: Rich in fat and protein, but ensure they are unsalted and not roasted.
- Suet: A great source of energy, especially in colder months.
- Bird seed mixes: Specifically designed to cater to the needs of different bird species.
- Fresh fruits (without pits or seeds): Apples, berries, and bananas are good choices.
- Mealworms: Excellent for insect-eating birds, providing a natural source of protein.
- Nectar: Homemade or store-bought, perfect for hummingbirds and other nectar feeders.
- Cooked rice or pasta: Offer in small amounts, ensuring they are plain and unsalted.
How Can You Feed The Wild Birds In Your Garden?
Feeding wild birds can be rewarding, and there are various methods to do so effectively, each attracting different types of birds. Here’s a breakdown of common feeding methods:
- Suitable for a variety of bird species and most types of bird food.
- It can be as simple as a tray, with or without a roof.
- Essential features include drainage for rainwater and ease of cleaning to remove droppings and leftover food.
- Some intricate designs may be challenging to maintain.
- Nut Feeders: Made of steel mesh, the only safe way to offer nuts. Mesh size should be large enough to prevent beak damage and small enough to prevent choking hazards.
- Seed Feeders: Usually transparent tube containers with holes, ideal for sunflower seeds and seed mixes. Attract birds like tits, siskins, and greenfinches.
- Constructed from wood or metal, sometimes with protective metal mesh.
- Allow smaller birds access and offer protection from predators.
- If considering a DIY bird feeder, it’s advisable to seek technical and safety advice from a reputable garden or pet shop or a bird food manufacturer.
In conclusion, feeding wild birds is a wonderful way to engage with nature and support local wildlife. Understanding what and how to feed them is crucial for their health and safety.
While there are a variety of foods that are beneficial to birds, it’s equally important to be aware of harmful foods. Different feeding methods, such as bird tables, hanging feeders, and ground feeders, cater to the preferences and needs of various bird species, enhancing the chances of attracting a diverse bird population to your garden.
Whether you buy commercial feeders or create your own, ensuring they are safe and suitable for the birds is essential. By following these guidelines, bird enthusiasts can create a thriving haven for birds, contributing to their well-being and enjoying the beauty and diversity of these feathered visitors.
With a lifelong love for animals, I’m on a mission to empower pet parents with knowledge, heartwarming stories, and practical tips to create a world where our beloved friends thrive in happiness and health.