Leftover Foods You Can Use To Feed The Birds In Your Yard

As winter approaches, food sources for wild birds become less abundant. If you're looking for a way to cut down on food waste, some leftovers are safe for birds when added to your feeder in moderation. During colder months, sources of protein and fat become less available to feathered friends as insects disappear. This is why occasionally adding a little bit of your food scraps to your backyard can help wild birds maintain a varied diet during harsh weather. However, because many leftovers don't provide a high nutritional value for these animals, it's important to continue giving them regular bird seed as well and only add leftovers as a treat. Certain vegetables, meat scraps, fruits, nuts, and grain-based foods can be wonderful additions to a bird's diet when other food isn't available.

When feeding leftovers to birds, it's important to avoid foods with a lot of salt, sugar, or spices, as these ingredients aren't healthy for them. Scraps that have spoiled or grown mold should not be offered either because they could cause illness. Putting out human food could also attract pests such as rodents, so it's best to add them to hanging feeders that most animals can't easily reach.

Leftovers that are safe for birds

Cooked rice and pasta can be a quick boost of carbohydrates for birds that need some extra energy. You can serve pasta or rice that's very plain, soft, and cut into little pieces. Surprisingly, hard cheeses that have become stale are a great source of fat as well. Trimmings and bones from beef are also an easy way to provide fat as well as protein. It may seem strange, but eggshells and cooked eggs give birds calcium and protein. All nuts offer birds nutrition and are safe for them to consume as long as they're not seasoned.

If your bananas have started to get a bit too ripe or you have some bruised apples, these can be very beneficial to a bird's diet. Dried, plain fruits, like old raisins from the back of your pantry, are also a sweet treat. Corn, peas, and small pieces of baked potato may be added to feeders as well. If you've recently switched pet foods, stale dog or cat food can be given to birds, but it needs to be hydrated with water beforehand.

Scraps you shouldn't put out for birds

While many think bread is safe for birds, it is very unhealthy for them. Baked goods like pastries, cookies, and breads should not be added to your feeder because they offer little nutrition and may contain a lot of sugar or salt. These foods could also make birds feel very full, causing them to pass up on healthier options. Though hard cheeses are a nice snack occasionally, soft cheeses are not because they contain more lactose. Birds are not mammals, making them less tolerant of milk and lactose.

Pretzels, potato chips, cheese puffs, and other highly-processed foods are not good for birds either. Besides the seasonings and sodium, these snacks are not nutritious and the chemicals added to them aren't great for your feathered friends. While cooked meat scraps are perfectly fine to add to your feeder, raw meat is not a good choice as it may spread bacteria. Adding leftovers to your feeders can be helpful for birds, especially in the winter, as long as you ensure the food is safe for them.