what to give a bird to eat

One of the best ways to enjoy wildlife in the comfort of your home is by watching the birds who visit your backyard. You’ll be amazed at the variety of birds you’ll see throughout the year—especially if you offer native plants that feed not only the birds, but also the insects that make up a crucial part of their diets.

Plenty of people choose to augment plants with birdseed, too. Yet experts disagree about whether this kind of backyard bird feeding will significantly help bird populations, and research indicates that it can even disrupt migration patterns or unbalance population sizes. On the other hand, supplemental feeding can help individual birds in your neighborhood, especially if plentiful native plants aren’t available.

The general rule for feeding any wild animal is not to offer food when it might cause harm (such as when there’s a local outbreak of avian disease that could spread through feeders). If you do choose to use a bird feeder, these answers to common questions will help you get started.

How do I keep birds from colliding with windows?

Birds may become confused by windows that reflect the sky and surrounding trees or are extremely transparent, leading them to perceive a clear flight path instead of an obstruction.

Place feeders either more than 30 feet away from a window or closer than 3 feet to avoid collisions. A feeder three feet or less from a window keeps a bird from gaining enough momentum for a deadly collision, while one thirty feet or more away from a window offers protection from perplexing reflections.

Altering the appearance of your window helps, too. Hang streamers or use soap to create a scene outside the window. Additionally, you can space four inches apart static-cling decals that prevent bird strikes; some of these decals even reflect ultraviolet light that humans cannot see but that birds can see. If crashes persist, cover your windows with thin garden netting made of plastic to increase the odds that a bird making a wrong turn will survive. Make your backyard a safe place for wildlife.

Regardless of the size of your outdoor area, you can make it a refuge for nearby wildlife. You can change things in your own backyard by meeting basic needs like food, water, and shelter.

Where should I put bird feeders?

Wherever they feel safe from predators—including roaming cats—birds are most likely to feed. Set feeders 12 feet away from bushes, trees, or brush piles. Predators are unable to conceal themselves within striking distance of the feeder, but birds can swiftly fly the distance of 12 feet to reach safe cover. Place thorny branches or chicken wire around ground-level feeders for additional protection.

What if I have to leave town?

Dont worry if you must stop feeding briefly. When you’re not around, wild birds will find other food sources in all but the worst weather, especially in suburban areas where there are other bird feeders nearby. However, if you reside in a remote or rural area, make arrangements for a neighbor to watch over the feeders while you are away for the winter.


What can I feed a bird I found?

Every licensed wild bird rehabber feeds non-raptor baby birds dry dog food that has been soaked in water until it is rather like a sponge. Every single one. Dry dog food is the go-to rehabber food for baby birds, if they are not hawks, owls, or falcons of some sort.

What household food can you feed birds?

Backyard birds can eat kitchen scraps and pantry grains that otherwise would be thrown away. Food from the pantry, such as old beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, rice, wheat, and other grains, can be crushed and fed to wild birds.

What food is safe for birds?

Mixtures of peanuts, nuts, and dried fruit attract woodpeckers, nuthatches, and titmice. A relatively few species prefer milo, wheat, and oats, which are featured in less expensive blends. Suet (beef fat) attracts insect-eating birds such as woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice.