Sunflower seeds and suet are my go-to picks for bird feeding. However, there are several unique foods you can feed birds, many of which may be in your cupboard right now!
Before jumping in, it’s important to note that oats, pasta, and bread are not on this list. These foods don’t provide nutritional value and can also be harmful to birds. If you want to learn more, read my story on why to avoid feeding birds bread.
Without further ado, here are seven weird things you can safely feed your neighborhood birds in addition to regular bird seed.
Baked Egg Shells
Birds need calcium, especially in the spring during egg laying season. Egg shells are a great source of this nutrient. You can save your leftover egg shells, bake them in the oven to sterilize them, and crush them up finely. According to Audubon, you should rinse the shells off in the sink, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and bake them in the oven at about 250 degrees for 10 minutes.
Birds will love pecking at the shells and getting a crucial calcium boost.
Raisins and Grapes
These sweet treats are a great source of energy for birds. Chop up grapes into smaller pieces to make them easier for birds to eat.
Raisins can make for a fun addition to regular bird seed for a trail mix approach! You should also cut these down to make them as easy as possible for birds to eat and digest.
Catbirds, House Finches, Robins, Orioles, Tanagers, and Red Bellied Woodpeckers may all take part in chowing down on grapes and raisins.
Similar in consistency to suet, peanut butter is a fun, high-fat treat to offer birds, especially in the winter.
The Cornell Bird lab says grocery store peanut butter is safe to feed for birds, you may want to avoid serving it in the summer as it spoils quickly. Consider adding some cornmeal to your bird peanut butter to make it easier for birds to consume.
Peanut butter is tricky to feed birds in the summer. It will spoil pretty quickly. I’d recommend using it as a fun wintertime energy treat for birds!
Grape jelly is another sweet treat that birds love. Look for a brand that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup, and offer it in small amounts during the spring migration season. In the summer, switch to offering birds high energy seed mixes, suet, and mealworms to aid in their preparation for fall migration, or the long winter ahead.
Grape jelly is my top food for attracting Baltimore Orioles in the spring. But, it’s also enjoyed by several other birds like Gray Catbirds and House Finches.
Apples are a great source of fiber and vitamins for birds. Slice them up into small pieces and remove the seeds before offering them to your feathered friends.
The Cornell Bird Lab endorses apples for bird feeding and also has a picture or Cardinals enjoying this treat.
Oranges are a must-have at your bird feeding station in the spring and summer. They’re essential for attracting Baltimore Orioles. House Finches, Catbirds, and Woodpeckers also enjoy it as a sweet treat at bird feeding stations.
Replace your oranges as soon as they get dried out. I always have a few in my pantry to swap in during the week.
Mealworms are a great source of protein for birds, and they’re especially popular among insect-eating birds like bluebirds and chickadees.
According to the Cornell Bird Lab, mealworms are the larva of mealworm beetles. They’re also a good source of protein and calcium, which is especially important for birds during the spring mating season. You can feed bids mealworms from a tray, hopper or specialized bird feeder. You can see the different kind of birds that eat mealworms in my story linked below.
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