Nuts and seeds are good to feed on birds, but if you don't have these two foods at hand, it's okay to use kitchen leftovers instead because they offer equal energy and nutrition.
Meanwhile, this food source not only helps you reduce kitchen waste and save money on birdseed but also provides birds with multiple treats. And who knows, maybe they come back to you more often.
If you don't know what to feed birds from the kitchen, consult this list.
What To Feed Birds From The Kitchen
Most birds love baked goods, whether that's stale biscuit, cake, crusts, or bread; even raw pastry as long as it's neither too salty nor sweet. Don't feed on birds with anything that contains jellies or sugary frosting.
As baked goods have a dry texture and some of them are low in nutritional value (white bread, for example), avoid feeding them too much.
Note: Not all types of cheese are good for feeding birds. Hard cheeses - such as mild, grated cheddar - are highly recommended while soft cheese (like blue cheese) are no-no.
But remember to feed birds with cheese as a treat. Avoid overfeeding them!
The reason is birds' digestion systems cannot break lactose down well. This means overeating the cheeses high in dairy could cause birds the same stomach upset as a lactose-intolerant human.
Some bird-friendly types of cheeses are Swiss, Parmesan, Provolone, Cheddar, and Camembert.
If you don't have the budget to buy suet for birds, then feed them with marrow bones, beef fat, rinds, or unsalted bacon instead; anything available in your kitchen.
These types of scraps provide the equal amount of protein as bird suets, while you don't have to spend any extra. And many birds - especially insect-eaters - love to use them as a rich energy source that keeps them survive winter months.
Eggs & Eggshells
Eggs are another great source of protein for birds while eggshells provide the grit that helps with birds' digestion and calcium for female birds during laying eggs.
Cook, peel, and chop eggs into itty-bitty pieces so that birds don't choke while eating.
With eggshells, clean them thoroughly, then bake at 250 degrees for fifteen minutes. Next, crush them into small pieces.
Crushed eggshells can be served on their own or mixed with birdseed. This type of food is best for tree swallow, barn, and purple martin.
Rice And Pasta
Cooked rice and pasta are great food sources of carbs. As long as not coated in cheese or sauce, they are great for feeding birds.
It's actually fine to feed birds with cat or dog kibble although not all birds love this.
Pet and cat foods are divided into wet and dry types. If you're going to provide dry foods for birds, remember to break up and soak them before putting them out in a tray.
Take note that pet foods might attract raccoons, squirrels, and other unwanted animals.
Fruits are particularly a favorite food type of soft-billed birds like wrens, robins, thrushes, and blackbirds. They literally like all types of fruits, from dried fruits to bruised and windfall ones.
Apples, bananas, oranges, and raisins are some popular options. With raisins, remember to soften them by soaking in warm water for 10-15 minutes before feeding birds.
So, if there're some overripe fruits in your refrigerator that you cannot consume, don’t hesitate to pass them to birds.
Some raw vegetables are not friendly to birds' digestion system, so it's best to feed them with cooked ones. Such as leftovers from canned soups, baked potatoes, and roasted seeds.
Here are some suggestions for you:
Squash, Pumpkin, And Melon Seeds
This is the favorite treat of the tufted titmouse, red-breasted nuthatch, evening grosbeak, and Northern cardinal.
You just need to roast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Don't apply seasonings or salt because it's not good for birds.
Potatoes, Yams, And Sweet Potatoes
These foods provide a huge amount of carbohydrates for birds.
There are many ways to feed birds potatoes such as mashed, boiled, or plain baked potatoes.
But never use raw potatoes to feed birds because they contain an enzyme called protease, which could cause birds' indigestion.
The same goes for yam and sweet potatoes.
Peas And Sweetcorn
These two kinds of foods are probably the rare ones that you can feed birds raw.
Many birds love this food. For example, woodpeckers, wrens, wood thrush, white-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, and black-capped chickadee.
You can put fruit spreads, jams, or jelly in a shallow dish or tray, then feed birds.
Any store-bought jelly - except those brands for diabetics because they contain bird-harmful sweeteners - is ideal for bird-feeding. If possible, try to pick those with the lowest additives and no added sugars.
Regarding flavors, berry flavors such as grape, strawberry, and raspberry are birds' favorites.
If coconut is cheap and popular in your region, I highly recommend you feed birds with this food because it contains a lot of saturated fats, which are health-friendly for birds. It's also rich in nutrients.
How to feed birds coconut?
Putting a fresh, cracked half of coconut with the milk drained off on the ground or in a bird feeder with a large, shallow tray is best. Avoid feeding them with desiccated coconut flakes because they could overfeed, which causes health issues.
Another thing to remember is that fresh coconut is prone to grow rancid if placed outdoors for too long in hot, warm weather, which could cause sickness to birds if they eat it.
Oats And Cereal
You can feed birds any type of oats and cereal as long as they aren't coated with sugar or salt, soaked in milk, or added with marshmallows.
While plain cereals are birds' favorite, they still enjoy other types like corn flakes, plain Cheerios, toasted oats, bran flakes, or even stale cereals.
Note: You should crush oats and cereals before feeding.
Break up nuts into tiny pieces so that birds can swallow them easily. As long as they're not seasoned or salted, you can feed birds any type of nuts, such as walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, peanuts, hickory nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and acorns.
Plain nuts are a great food source for birds, especially during breeding season.
The most important thing when feeding birds with scraps is to clear away too old foods or uneaten ones to avoid attracting unwanted critters. Also, remember to clean the bird feeders frequently to prevent bacteria buildup, causing birds to become sick.
And, that’s all for the topic “what to feed birds from the kitchen”. We hope you like it. Thanks for reading!