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What To Feed Birds From The Kitchen? 14 Foods They Can Eat

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a sparrow bird perching on a bird bath

Many things you can find in your kitchen have a lot of good fats and carbohydrates that birds need during the nesting period and wintertime. Therefore, there are many kitchen scraps and leftovers you can feed to birds. You will do a good deed while using something you would throw out and giving it a purpose instead, while the birds will be thankful that you shared food with them.

So, if you have hungry birds in your yard, or your pet bird is hungry but you have no birdseed, you should choose appropriate scraps they will enjoy eating. In this article, we’ll provide you with a list of 14 items from your kitchen that you can feed to birds.


Do kitchen items you can feed to birds have enough nutrients?

One of the biggest concerns people have before giving birds items for their kitchen is that the food won’t provide birds with enough nutrients. While kitchen items are not suitable for a regular, daily diet, they are beneficial when you use them as occasional treats.

Birds need more food during winter because the food resources are reduced, so the food for your kitchen would be helpful for them to remain strong. Do not replace bird seeds with scraps and kitchen items completely, as they don’t have all the nutrients that birds need.

Depending on the food that you have, you might even attract new birds to your yard to enjoy the scraps you provided. Also, by feeding birds with these kitchen items, especially during winter, you will save the lives of birds who cannot get enough food outside.

Keep reading, and check out our list if you’d like to know which kitchen items you can safely use to feed birds. 

Top 14 Items You Can Feed Birds From Your Kitchen

1. Rice

rice bird
Image Credit: ImageParty, Pixabay

The first item from your kitchen you can feed to birds is rice. Granivorous birds will love this treat, and it will provide them with a needed dose of carbohydrates. If you have leftovers of cooked rice, ensure you wash it before feeding it to birds. That way, there will be no leftover salt or other spices birds might not enjoy.

2. Pasta

Another thing from your kitchen you can feed to birds is cooked pasta. You should also wash it before giving it to birds, and if needed, you should cut it into small pieces so that birds can grab it effortlessly. Cooked pasta is also a great source of carbohydrates, and you could attract some stunning birds like the blue jay or the red-bellied woodpecker to your garden.

3. Cooked eggs and eggshells

Image Credit: GregReese, Pixabay

If you have cooked eggs or even eggshells, you can feed that to birds. Cooked eggs are a great source of protein and other nutrients that birds need, while eggshells contain calcium that is valuable for birds. You should cut the eggs into small bits. As for the eggshells, you should bake and crush them before feeding so that the birds don’t have difficulty grabbing them.

4. Apple

Many birds like the American robin, red-bellied woodpecker, and eastern bluebird love apples, so this is also a kitchen item you can feed to birds. When feeding apples to birds, first slice them and remove all the seeds. You could also chop the apple in half. Just try to adjust the size of the portion to be the right size for bids.

5. Banana

Image Credit By: t_watanabe, Pixabay

Another fruit you probably have in your kitchen and can give to birds is a banana. Birds like the gray catbird, gray jay, and northern cardinal will love this tasty delicacy. If you want to serve bananas to the birds in your yard, remove the peel and cut the banana into smaller pieces.

6. Cheese

Birds also love cheese, so if you have it in your kitchen, feel free to give it to birds. The cheese should be mild and lactose-free or low in lactose. The best options are mild or American cheddar, while you should avoid feeding them cream cheese and moldy cheese. Make cheese bites that are easy to digest and that can fit into a bird’s beak. Gray catbird, brown thrasher, and Carolina wren are birds that love eating cheese.

7. Raisins

Image Credit By: sue_v67, pixabay

Raisins are also suitable for birds, so you can give them to birds in your backyard if you have them in your home. Birds that love to eat raisins are the gray catbird, American robin, and wood thrush. Before giving raisins to birds, you should soak them in warm water to make them softer.

8. Peanut Butter

Birds also love peanut butter, so you can feed it to them if you don’t have other items in your kitchen. You could spread it over a dried orange or a pinecone. Another thing you could do is make small feeders with peanut butter, or you could smear it on nearby trees. The peanut butter will attract woodpeckers, wrens, brown creepers, and other birds to your yard.

9. Various Nuts

Image Credit: Nennieinszweidrei, Pixabay

Birds love eating various nuts, so anything from peanuts, walnuts, pecan, or almonds would be suitable to feed to birds. Since nuts are commonly small, you can offer birds whole nuts, or you can crush them if needed. Avoid nuts with spices or sugar, and instead, only offer fresh nuts without anything on them.

10. Vegetables

Veggies are a great source of nutrients, so you can feed them to birds. Anything from sweet potatoes, corn, and peas will work well for birds. If the vegetables have skin, ensure you remove them first, and you could mix them with sunflower seeds for a better taste.

11. Cereal

Image Credit By: ManeeshUpadhyay, Shutterstock

Many birds enjoy eating cereal, so you could feed them with any kind of cereal you have in your kitchen. It’s best to offer birds cereal low in sugar and without any artificial dyes. Before giving cereal to birds, crush them with a rolling pin so that the birds can quickly eat them.

12. Baked products

Baked products are also a suitable food for birds, so if you’ve got cookies, crackers, stale bread, or bread crusts, you could give them to backyard birds. If the baked goods are too stale, soak them in water before feeding the birds, while you could just crush them into small pieces if they are not too stale. Do not give these in large quantities, as they do not have enough of the nutrients that birds need.

13. Meat

Image Credit: Zichrini, Pixabay

In case you didn’t know this, birds are also fond of eating meat. If you have leftover bacon pieces, beef drippings, or even meat bones, you can offer that to the birds outside of your home. All of those will be a great source of protein that birds need to develop their muscles.

14. Pet food

Birds can consume pet food, so if you have food for your canine or feline, you could also feed it to birds. Not all birds will be attracted by this type of food, but birds that eat meat will enjoy this treat. You should mix the pet food with water and provide small bites that birds can eat without issues.

hummingbird divider How to feed kitchen items to birds?

The best way to feed birds with items from your kitchen is to sprinkle the food on a platform feeder, although this can leave stains depending on the food that you use. You could also use a cage feeder or leave bits of food on nearby trees. Avoid putting the scraps on the ground, as that can attract insects and other creatures.

Things to pay attention to

Although giving birds items from your kitchen is a great way to be economical and have good use of your leftovers, it can have possible downsides. Kitchen scraps and leftover foods can attract rodents and other creatures to your yard if not eaten promptly. That’s why it’s best to put foods away from the ground or place them in feeders.

Also, if you provide birds with just these items, they won’t be able to get enough nutrients they need to function properly. That’s why you should offer kitchen items in small quantities and on rare occasions. They can be used sometimes, but they cannot replace the regular food that birds need for development.

hummingbird divider In Conclusion

Feeding birds with items from your kitchen is beneficial for reducing food waste and saving money on buying birdseed. The birds will love the extra food they need in cold months and during nesting time, so if you have any of the items we mentioned, you can safely feed your backyard birds with those items. Still, this shouldn’t become a habit and you should do it rarely, as birds need proper nutrition to prosper.

Featured Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.