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Keep your feathered friends safe. Here’s what NOT to feed the birds

Many foods are toxic to feeder birds. If you want to keep them coming back, do not kill them with bad foods. Birds visit your feeder more often in the winter. That is because foods like insects, berries, and seeds are not as readily available as the rest of the year. Here are some foods you should definitely avoid at your feeder.

Salt can be toxic

This includes salty snacks like chips, crackers, nuts, and any processed foods high in salt. A little salt is fine, but, just like humans, a lot of salt can be harmful. If you want to offer something other than birdseed, serve up plain, air-popped popcorn with no salt.

Chocolate kills

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to birds. Medicinal uses in humans include a diuretic and a heart stimulator. In birds, this can lead to digestive, heart, and breathing issues.

Bread adds little

A bit of bread will do no harm. Yet, most breads offer no nutritional value to birds, adding only empty calories. If you want to put bread at your feeder, use whole grains. Better yet, add a smear of peanut butter (unsalted) dotted with hulled sunflower seed. Mmm!

Dried beans should be cooked

The chemical toxin hemagglutinin found in dried beans is fatal to birds. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and nausea. When the beans are cooked, the chemical breaks down, making them safe for birds to eat. 

Spoiled seed creates mold

Once the seed in your feeder gets wet, change it. Seed should be dry and fresh without pungent odors. You should discard any seed that is clumped together or moldy.

Some other foods to avoid include avocado, bacon, coffee beans, apple seeds, fruit pits, onions, and mushrooms. Each can cause digestive disorders or death. Let’s keep birds that visit your feeder alive and well, especially in the winter. Check a reliable source like The Humane Society for more information.

##RVT1033

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Uncle Swags
15 days ago

I use Kayte fruit and nut mix at my home in NJ. My feeder is busy all day. Water is more important though especially in winter when freeze sets in.

Cherie
17 days ago

Some people hate to throw away food and think they are helping wildlife. This is good information to share. Campers should clean up after themselves and not leave food in areas that wild life can get into.

Gary
17 days ago

Who puts any of that in a bird feeder? I learned nothing.