What should I feed stray birds?

Answered by Willie Powers

Feeding stray birds can be a rewarding and compassionate act, especially during the winter months when food sources may be scarce. Here are some suggestions for what to feed stray birds:

1. Other seeds and nuts: In addition to black sunflower seeds, you can offer a variety of seeds and nuts such as peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. These provide essential nutrients and energy for the birds.

2. Bird cake and food bars: Fat balls and food bars specifically designed for birds can be a great option. These are made with a mixture of fats, grains, and seeds, providing a high-energy food source that can help birds survive the cold weather.

3. Live foods and insect foods: If you have access to live foods or insect foods like mealworms or crickets, these can be a valuable source of protein for birds. They mimic the natural diet of many bird species and can be especially beneficial during breeding seasons.

4. Dog and cat food: While not an ideal primary food source, dog and cat food can be a temporary solution for feeding stray birds. Opt for dry kibble and soak it in water to soften it. Ensure it does not contain any harmful additives like garlic or onion.

5. Rice and cereals: Cooked rice, oats, or other cereals can be mixed with seeds or nuts to provide a filling meal for birds. However, avoid using salt or any seasonings that may be harmful to them.

6. Fats, margarines, and oils: Birds require a good amount of fat in their diet to stay warm and maintain energy levels. You can provide them with small amounts of unsalted fats like suet, lard, or vegetable oils. Spread these on bread or mix them with other foods.

7. Milk and coconut: While some birds may enjoy milk or coconut, it’s important to note that not all birds can digest dairy products. If you choose to offer these, do so sparingly and monitor the birds’ response.

Remember, it’s crucial to provide fresh, clean water alongside any food you offer. Birds need water for drinking and bathing, especially during the winter when natural water sources may be frozen. Ensure the water is changed regularly to prevent it from freezing over.

When feeding stray birds, try to create a safe and accessible feeding area. Place the food in a sheltered spot, away from predators, and keep it at a height that is convenient for the birds to access. Regularly clean the feeding area to prevent the spread of diseases.

By providing a variety of nutritious foods, you can help stray birds survive challenging conditions and contribute to their overall well-being.