What Human Foods Can Birds Eat?

What Human Foods Can Birds Eat?Birds subsist on more than seeds and worms. In fact, many bird species eat a variety of foods that humans enjoy. Offering different types of foods at backyard feeders can increase the number of visitors to your yard and provide more opportunity for studying and identifying your feathered neighbors. (Pictured: A male Baltimore Oriole is eating grape jelly in a feeder that holds orange halves and has an area cut out to hold grape jelly)

Seeds, Nuts and More

Of course, seeds and nuts make up a good part of a bird's diet, many types of which we enjoy. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, millet, cracked corn and even popped popcorn are staples at bird feeders and will attract Northern cardinals, the titmouse, grosbeaks, finches and buntings. Excess salt can be unhealthy for birds, so place unsalted nuts and seeds in your feeders.



Place pieces of plain bread, corn bread and other bakery scraps onto feeders, and flickers, blue jays, crows, woodpeckers, chickadees and robins will visit. Do not set out molding bread, as this can be dangerous to some bird species and can attract rodents, particularly if you throw crumbs onto the ground. Keep sugary bakery scraps at a minimum as well for this reason.


Birds such as orioles, mockingbirds and sapsuckers love fruit just as much as we humans do. If you do not have fruit trees in your yard, you may want to consider adding a few wedges of fruit to a platform feeder, such as berries, apples, pears, raisins, watermelon or oranges. Remove rotting fruit and clean the feeder between fresh offerings.


Certain birds, like wrens, magpies and nuthatches, will eat meat fats as a supplement or in place of insects during lean times. Pieces of bacon and beef kidney fat, also known as suet, is commonly hung from trees in special feeder cages to attract these birds. This type of food works particularly well in the winter months, as the cold weather helps preserve the food and does not attract bees and wasps.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Birds also enjoy nut butters. Make homemade wild bird food by mixing peanut butter and seeds together for a tasty treat. Also, offer a tablespoon of jelly from time to time for a welcome change. To feed nut butters and jellies to wild birds, choose brands that contain a minimum of additives to provide the healthiest foods for your outdoor friends.


Article Written By Nikki Jardin

Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.

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