Being a wild bird enthusiast, you’ll surely love to feed your backyard birds every day with different seeds, nuts, fruits, and much more. But what if you find that the food you provide to your backyard bird is actually harmful to them!
Yes, there is some food that you should not feed a bird. In this article, I rounded up everything regarding bird feeding, such as best food for wild birds, what should you not feed wild birds, best no waste bird seed, how to keep ground under bird feeders clean, and some other questions.
So make sure you read the article till the end! Because it is always better to learn real things rather than believing in stupid rumors. And if anyhow you don’t want to refill the feeders again and again, then you don’t have to read the article, only do one thing, try to provide natural food sources in your yard.
Natural food sources like landscaping, different food plants, flowers, shrubs, birdbaths/bird ponds, and insects (minimize pesticide so that insects can roam around)! These natural best food sources for wild birds are good enough to feed & attract distinctive bird species to your yard.
By reading this article, you can learn everything about bird feeding. So let’s jump on that!
Best food for wild birds that attracts a wide variety of birds
1. Wagner’s Deluxe Blend Wild Bird Food
This wild bird food blend contains eleven varieties of the highest quality grains like black oil sunflower seeds, nyjer, peanut kernels, white millet, cracked corn, and more.
That is best enough to attract distinctive bird species such as chickadee, jays, finches, woodpeckers, cardinals, titmice, other colorful birds, as well as other indigenous backyard visitors. Plus, you can also add this seed blend to the bird suet recipe.
This food blend offers the backyard enthusiast a value plus moderately priced food that is the real deal! So make sure you keep feeders filled with this food blend so birds will continue to visit, and then you can surely see them perching in your yard, gobbling the seeds up.
Why I like it
- Value for money
- High-quality seeds
- Attracts birds quickly
2. Wagner’s Four Season Black Oil Sunflower Seed Wild Bird Food
The four-season sunflower seed is a 101% black oil sunflower seed. As per the experts, sunflower seeds are one of the favorite foods of most wild birds. These black oil sunflower seeds are high in energy and have a thin shell making them easy for all birds to consume.
Black oil sunflower seed attracts dozens of songbirds like cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and many more. With sunflower seeds, you can easily win any backyard visitor’s trust, so make sure you also add these seeds to your bird feeder/hopper.
Why I like it
- High in protein and oil
- High in vitamin E and selenium
- Thin shell making it easy for all birds
3. Kaytee Peanuts best food for wild birds
Peanuts have high levels of fat and protein, which are great for many backyard birds. Peanuts help attract many beautiful birds such as Blue Jays, House Finch, Indigo Bunting, Cardinals, Black-Capped Chickadees, Magpies, Downy Woodpeckers, Titmouse, White Breasted Nuthatches, Juncos, Towhees, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, and more.
So do also add peanuts to your bird feeder if you want to see these birds hopping around your yard. With peanuts, you can also help them to fulfill their protein needs.
Why I like it
- Rich texture and taste
- High in vitamins and minerals
- Easily available and affordable
4. Lyric Fine Tunes Best No Waste Bird Seed Mix
Lyric premium, no mess no millet bird seed mix is-created using nutritional, all-natural, 100% edible ingredients for your backyard friends.
Each morsel included is-intended to attract and nourish birds. This blend is research-based and field-tested, adjusted one-ingredient at a time so you can be sure the wild bird mixes you serve will attract a wide variety of birds.
As they are already fine-tuned, so make sure you always offer these seeds in a feeder so that it can stay protected from snow and rain. If these unprotected seeds get wet or damp, they will spoil quickly, so be sure to set them out in a covered, protected feeder.
Why I like it
- 100% edible
- No shells, no seed hulls
- Nutritional ingredients
5. Lyric Fruit & Nut High Energy best food for wild Birds
This high energy fruit & nut mix provides the balanced nutrition wild birds crave: nuts for the long-lasting energy from protein and fats, and fruits to provide sugar for an instant boost.
Basically, it has a blend of dried cranberries, raisins, shelled peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, valencia peanuts, pistachios, steamed crimped corn, black oil sunflower seeds, sunflower kernels, and shelled pumpkin seeds.
Most birds like robins, thrushes, bluebirds, and waxwings don’t usually show up at feeders because seeds are not a primary component of their diet, but now with this high energy fruit & nut mix, you may be able to tempt them to the bird feeder.
Why I like it
- No fillers for less waste
- Attracts a wide variety of birds
- Real dried fruits, & shell-free nuts
6. Lyric Sunflower Kernels best food for garden birds in winter
These sunflower kernels are a good source of fat & protein for buntings, grosbeaks, flickers, redpolls, towhees, finches, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, woodpeckers & cardinals.
It contains no shells & only the highest quality ingredients, so you don’t have the dust or the mess, & kernels are all 100% edible. Plus, it can be used alone or combined with other birdseed mixes as most birds enjoy sunflower kernels.
And sunflower kernels provide a high amount of fat and nutrients, making it a necessary snack for birds, especially in winters.
With sunflower kernels, you can easily attract more birds, & even you’ll keep them coming back! If these unshelled seeds get wet or damp, they will spoil quickly. So make sure you use a feeder that protects them from snow and rain.
Why I like it
- 100% edible
- All-natural and filler-free
- Less mess, fewer trips while refilling
What should you not feed wild birds?
Being a birder, you need to know which food is safe for birds and which food may cause danger. Study shows some foods are good for birds, while others could be doing them more harm, which means the wrong food can lead to many complications in birds, such as:
- Excessive thirst
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
- Seizures or Tremors
- Kidney dysfunction
- Respiratory difficulty
- Ulcers or Anemia
- Cardiac distress or Heart failure
- Liver failure and even death
So, here I rounded up some foods that are potentially toxic to wild birds and pet birds. Almost every veterinarian agrees you should never feed these foods to a bird under any circumstances.
Chocolate poisoning first affects a bird’s digestive system, causing vomiting and diarrhea. As the condition progresses, the bird’s central nervous system is affected, causing seizures and eventually death.
Salt can lead to many health problems in birds, including excessive thirst, dehydration, kidney dysfunction, and death. Providing a small amount of salty food is good. But make sure you shouldn’t feed too much salt to any wild or pet bird.
Keep guacamole and other avocado products as far away from birds as possible because these fruits can cause cardiac distress and eventual heart failure in many bird species.
Onions and garlic
Excessive consumption of onions and garlic can cause diarrhea, vomiting, hemolytic anemia, other digestive problems, and eventual death. So, try not to feed even a small piece of Onions and garlic to any bird.
Alcohol & Caffeine
Alcohol can easily depress the organ systems of any birds and can be fatal. Free-roaming birds, especially pet birds, can effortlessly obtain alcohol, so make sure you better hide the alcohol from the range of pet birds. On the other hand, drinks like coffee, tea, and cold drink any other soda drinks, can cause cardiac malfunctions such as increased heartbeat, arrhythmia, hyperactivity, and cardiac arrest in birds.
Don’t let birds consume raw or cooked mushrooms cap and stem. Mushrooms can cause digestive upset and even liver failure in many bird species.
Xylitol /Sugar-Free Candy
Things like Reese’s Cups, Peach Gummy Rings, Gummy Worms, Lemon Hard Candy, Almond Toffee, Extra Gum, York Peppermint Patties contain artificial sweeteners, which may cause hypoglycemia, liver damage, and possible death in both domestic and wild birds. So don’t feed anything that comes with an artificial sweetener.
Apple Seeds & Fruit Pits
Apple and other fruits like pears, cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums are totally safe to feed, but the seed that these fruits contain aren’t safe for birds, as these seeds and pits contain small amounts of a cardiac-toxic, which is hazardous for birds. So make sure you remove seeds and pits whenever you feed the birds these fruits.
Bread is not hazardous, and as well as it’s also not the best food for wild birds if feed too much, as it has low nutritional value, and birds need more protein and fat in their diet. So, feeding too much bread to birds is like filling their stomach with just air.
Food like seeds, nuts, and fruits, when gotten wet or spoiled, may start forming bacterias, fungus, mold, or mildew, and even insects can also infest seed, which may lead to different bird diseases that are fatal to birds. So try to provide dry and fresh seeds all the seasons.
Try not to fill your bird feeder with any of these foods so that you shouldn’t regret it later.
How to keep ground under bird feeders clean? The easy way!
Here are several techniques to keep the ground under bird feeders clean. But before you check those methods, here is a little secret, if you have put your bird feeder in your backyard, then only do one simple thing!
Just try to use less pesticide in your backyard so insects like flies, beetles, moth larvae, earwigs, cutworms, and nematodes will naturally clean it for you, as they love to eat scattered debris, seed hulls, feces, sprouts, and other messes. If you still feel that this will not work for you, then try these methods.
- The easiest way is installing a tray underneath your feeder. The tray will catch seeds and hulls before they fall into the ground, and make sure the tray will be in suitable size mean not too big nor too small so that the birds can comfortably access the seeds that fall into it.
- Let the feeders remain empty for two days a week to encourage ground-feeding birds to pick up spilled seed. Plus, this method also helps the birds to find more places for food around the area. If you’re on holidays and the feeder is empty so they can undoubtedly fly to another location for food.
- Fill the feeder with high-quality bird seeds, so the birds will not scoop out seeds only to look for the best seeds that are really-filled with pure nuts inside.
- Use an open platform like this one (Birds Choice 16X20 Seed Catcher Open Platform) that’ll help the bird pick seeds effortlessly without dropping seeds on the ground. Plus, an open platform feeder is also a great choice if a large flock of birds comes to your bird feeder.
- Try to use an outdoor vacuum to collect the seed hulls that fall from your bird feeder! After collecting the waste, reuse them as mulch in your garden! Yes,’ it is an excellent alternative to mulch. It will help the conservation of soil moisture, improving fertility and health of the soil, reducing weed growth, even enhancing the visual appeal of your garden.
- Instead of scaring other visitors like chipmunks, field mice, squirrels, mice, let them eat seeds and hulls that fall from the feeder. And make sure you use a squirrel proof bird feeder so that these new visitors wouldn’t climb over it to spill more seed.
These methods will help you minimize the waste beneath the bird feeder rather than clean up every individual seed hull and seeds. It’s always better to move bird feeders to a new spot in the yard every week so that the previous location can naturally decompose and turn into a fertilizer for your plants.
Always try to protect the birds from collisions into windows! The Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) study shows that approximately one billion birds die each year from flying into windows only in the United States.
To protect the birds, make sure you always place the feeder within three feet of windows or attach fruit tree netting outside windows to deflect birds from the glass.
On the other hand, cats also kill millions of birds each year! Some birds like sparrows, juncos, and towhees are easily caught by cats, as they feed on the ground, so try to protect these birds from pet cats.
There are two simple tricks you can use to protect birds from cats. First, attach the bells on the cat’s collar so that the birds can quickly identify the predators and fly, and secondly, try to keep your cats indoors! Keeping cats indoors protects birds, and at the same time cats can be protected from fights with other animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How to keep wild birds warm in winter?
Ans: The best way to keep wild birds warm in winter is by providing as high-calorie and high-fat foods as possible. Plus, you can also set up a naturally made birdhouse for them, which-helps birds seeking protection from cold weather through the winter season.
Q: Can wild birds eat parakeet food?
Ans: Yes’, they can eat, but it’s better to only provide it as a treat. Offering too much parakeet food can be fatal for wild birds, as it is specially made for pet birds.
Q: What human food can birds eat?
Ans: There are dozens of suitable human foods like seeds and grains available that birds can eat effortlessly, such as nyjer, millet, oats, sunflower seeds, unsalted peanuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, even soft fruits, and much more.
Q: What kind of diseases can you get from a bird pet and wild birds?
Ans: There is one common disease that humans can undoubtedly get from the birds, known as Psittacosis. It is also known as (ornithosis), which is caused by bacteria (Chlamydia psittaci). Only by inhaling dust containing feathers particles, old aged people take this disease much faster, which may cause them severe illness.
Q: Why wild bird losing feathers on head?
Ans: There are three general circumstances when wild or pet birds lose their feathers, such as feather mites or lice, bacteria, and abnormal molt. There is one more common virus called (circovirus), which can also lead to feather damage in some birds.