What food to put out for birds?
- Other seeds and nuts. Black sunflower seeds.
- Bird cake and food bars. Fat balls and other fat-based food bars are excellent winter food.
- Live foods and other insect foods.
- Fats, margarines and oils.
- Dog and cat food.
- Milk and coconut.
- Rice and cereals.
- Mouldy and stale food.
The different types of foods backyard birds naturally eat include:
- Insects, worms and grubs.
- Seeds, grasses and plant material.
- Nectar and pollen.
- Nuts, fruit and berries.
- Rodents, snakes and other small animals.
- Uncooked oatmeal is an excellent source of nutrition for birds, and it also helps you get rid of the oatmeal you are not going to eat. While you can simply scatter uncooked oatmeal on the ground, take the time to put it into a suet cake, which gives birds a fatty treat in the winter.
- Without teeth, a bird cannot chew its food down to bits in its mouth like humans do. As detailed in the textbook Ornithology by Frank B. Gill, birds must instead rely on the muscular stomach-like pouch called the gizzard to crush down their food. Many species swallow stones and grit to aid in digestion.
- We've all heard the warning: don't feed rice to birds or don't throw rice at weddings because birds will eat it. Fact is, rice cooked or uncooked won't hurt wild birds at all. The rumor is that uncooked rice hits the bird's tummy and then swells causing its stomach to explode. It's simply not true.
The most popular supplemental foods to offer birds include:
- Black oil sunflower seeds.
- Safflower seeds.
- Mixed birdseed.
- Only offer as much fruit as birds will eat in a day or two to avoid spoiled fruit that may attract rodents, insects or other unwanted pests. Apples and oranges are the most popular and most universally accepted fruits to feed birds, and it is not necessary to peel or core the fruit before offering it to birds.
- Uncooked rice may be eaten by birds such as pigeons, doves and pheasants but is less likely to attract other species. Porridge oats must never be cooked, since this makes them glutinous and could harden around a bird's beak. Uncooked porridge oats are readily taken by a number of bird species.
- Spring and summer. During the summer months, birds require high protein foods, especially while they are moulting. Only feed selected foods at this time of year. Good hygiene is vital, or feeding may do more harm than good.
Updated: 12th November 2019