Wild birds need bird food that provides them with nutrients, fats and proteins to energise their busy lives. But when you have no bird food mixes or straights left to feed them, knowing what can you feed birds from your kitchen ensures you're giving them treats to keep them going until you have more of the food they love. Below, we suggest some food from your kitchen that birds appreciate and will keep them going when you think you have nothing else to offer.
Apples are high on the list of snacks you can feed birds from your kitchen. Thrushes, tits and starlings are some of the species that love apples. But make sure you remove all the seeds because you don’t want to risk baby birds choking on them!
The banana is another favourite fruit from your kitchen for UK garden birds. Loved by blackbirds, finches, jays, starlings and wrens, bananas are best served chopped in half with the peel removed.
Many UK garden birds in your local area will appreciate butternut squash, melon and pumpkin seeds, but you need to roast them in the oven first before serving them. This will ensure they are ready to eat and easy for your hungry visitors to peck at. Some bird species you can expect to see feasting on these seeds are blue tits, finches, great tits, house sparrows and nuthatches.
Blackbirds, robins and thrushes enjoy diced fruits, such as currants, raisins and sultanas. Remember to soak them in water beforehand to soften them so they are easier and more comfortable for birds to bite.
Since some dogs and cats react badly to these fruits, offer them to birds in a place where these animals can’t reach them.
Wild birds like dunnocks, collared doves, finches and house sparrows enjoy plain cereals, including plain cheerios, bran flakes, corn flakes and toasted oats with fruits and nuts. Prepare the cereals by crushing them with a rolling pin so they are small and easier to eat.
Many birds will eat bread and happily peck up the crumbs of any bread you might be otherwise throwing away. Like humans, brown bread is the best to offer to wild birds, and if the bread is dry or stale, it’s better soaked in water before being served so it’s easier for them to digest. We also recommend only giving birds bread in small amounts because it fills them up quickly when they could save that space in their bellies for a better food source.
Peanuts and other nuts like almonds, pecans and walnuts are desirable for the wild birds you’ll likely see visiting your garden. You can offer crushed or whole nuts in your bird feeders or on your bird feeding table. Finches, crows, nuthatches, tits, robins, woodpeckers, and others will all appreciate nuts as snacks!
Just be careful not to give them nuts with spiced flavourings or sugary coatings, and only offer raw or roasted nuts without any extra salting or seasoning. It’s also a good idea to remove shells and crush them so they are easier for birds to eat.
Birds such as blue tits, jays, the titmouse and woodpeckers appreciate cooked pasta and rice. They provide a good source of carbohydrates for wild birds, but like most things on this list, they are best served with some extra preparation to ensure they can enjoy the meal!
Wash the cooked pasta or rice thoroughly before serving to remove oils and salts, then cut them into smaller pieces. Avoid offering pasta or rice cooked using spices, flavourings, sauces or cheese.
Cooked eggs are a great nutritional source of protein and will be a popular snack to place on your bird feeding table. In addition, eggshells provide birds with plenty of calcium, which female birds benefit from when it comes to laying their own eggs.
It is best to crush the eggshells as much as possible and bake them at 120°C for about 20mins. This will sterilise them, making them easy to crumble and, most importantly, making them easier for birds to digest.
Mild-strength cheese grated small is a favourite among blackbirds, dunnocks, robins, songbirds and wrens. It is best placed in areas of your garden where you have witnessed them feeding away from direct sunlight, as it will go mouldy quickly or melt if it warms up quickly.
Many UK garden birds enjoy peanut butter, but waiting until the colder months before serving is best because offering peanut butter during spring and summer will melt, creating a mess, and the birds will likely avoid it.
Leftover baked potatoes are a fantastic treat for garden birds when allowed to cool and chopped up small. They also like frozen peas and sweetcorn, and it’s common to mix sunflower hearts with these vegetables to enhance this wholesome meal.
Now you know the answer to "What can you feed birds from your kitchen" is that offering scraps and leftovers as bird food is a great way to use food that would otherwise be thrown away. As long as you only offer them treats that benefit them, providing them with food from your kitchen will ensure they get a wider variety of nutrients, keeping them returning to your feeders for more!
Whether you’re using a feeding table, a hanging feeding platform or a ground feeder, remember to keep them clean and place them in ideal locations in your garden. If you have any questions about feeding wild birds, please message us; we are always happy to help.