Is Bread Bad for Birds?

Earlier this week I was researching some new bird gardening strategies and I was flipping through my stacks of bird gardening books and I noticed that the majority of these books spend most of their space talking about bird feeders and bird feeding projects.

Diseases from moldy bread can cause feather malformations, making the birds unable to fly. You can have the same enjoyable experience with your children and create treats for the birds in your wildlife garden by replacing those bread products with pine cones.

Youd still dip them in peanut butter and roll them in quality bird seeds, but you are not creating a health hazard for your avian friends. Birds enjoy seeds, nuts, berries, and the insects that will be attracted to your native plants.

Why shouldnt you feed birds bread?

Even the bread that birds don’t eat is bad for them: Rotting bread can grow mold that makes ducks sick, contribute to the growth of algae—which can kill loads of animals—and attract vermin that spread disease to birds and humans alike.

What happens when birds eat bread?

Eating bread can be deadly for birds.. With no calories to metabolize to stay warm or provide energy to evade predators. For a small bird, this can lead to tragedy very quickly. A Black-capped Chickadee can freeze to death overnight, with its stomach full of bread.

What should you not feed birds?

Avocado..Caffeine..Chocolate..Salt..Fat..Fruit pits and apple seeds..Onions and garlic..Xylitol.

Is bread good for birds and squirrels?

Is bread good for squirrels and birds? While it’s not harmful to either birds or squirrels, it doesn’t contain any nutrients that they need. Neither birds nor squirrels should be fed large amounts of bread.

Is there anyone who doesnt like feeding wild birds when they get the chance? Birds can be tremendously entertaining to feed they fly and flock about, have little quarrels with each other as they race for the scraps, and test their bravery as they dare to get closer and closer to you for your sweet, sweet treats.

This is a sad truth behind a seemingly innocuous activity, which is why we want to help you know what the best bird food is for wild avian species, and why bread is a no-no. This is problematic, because it fills up the little tummies of wild birds real quickly leaving them nice and full, but without the nutrients they actually need.

First of all, the malnutrition applies to chicks and ducklings as much as it does to their parents, only the effect is magnified because baby birds are more reliant on good nutrition since its needed to fuel their growth. Furthermore, young birds wont learn the skills they need to properly feed themselves independently if theyre always relying on human handouts. Wild birds need to learn how to forage for their own foods, especially since most species are migratory and wont be staying in one spot their whole life.

Yeah, word spreads quickly around birds, and they seem to have a supernatural talent of knowing when one of their buddies is eating something delicious. Mold: Ducks, geese, and gulls are the most common beneficiaries of bread handouts, and they all tend to congregate in areas rich with water.

Bread has zero nutrition for wild birds. In fact, bread, crackers, chips and other human snacks are, in some ways, WORSE than feeding birds absolutely nothing. Why? Because bread is bad for birds.

The bird doesnt know the food is useless, but leaves feeling full and satisfied, nonetheless. To begin with, birds must be very efficient eaters due to rapid metabolism and the small size of their stomachs.

For waterfowl, a daily diet of bread, crackers and other snack foods from well-meaning park visitors can also lead to tragedy. Angel Wing syndrome is just one heart-breaking example of what can happen when we feed our snacks and leftovers to water birds. This one little bit of info could make a big difference to the health and future of our wild birds.

When we provide fresh, high quality food in our backyard feeders, we have the opportunity to support the good health and well-being of our local birds.

As many people know it is advised that you shouldnt feed bread to ducks. However, we get a number of queries asking whether its ok to leave bread out for garden birds, and if so why the advice seems to be contradictory.

Bread is not Good for Birds

Imagine if you took your small children to McDonald’s every day. They may get filled up with that food, but do you really think that’s providing all the nutrition your children need?It’s the same thing with birds. Bread is junk food for birds, providing very little nutritional value and very little in the way of energy to survive the winter in our wildlife gardens.At this time of year birds need the right balance of lipids and fats to supply their energy needs. And they do not receive this from bread.

Bread can be Dangerous to Birds

Bread has a propensity to mold, which is often why we think of feeding it to the birds in the first place. We think “I don’t want to waste this moldy bread, so I’ll just put it out for the birds.”Moldy bread can poison and kill birds, and salmonella is a big concern, too. Bread products mold very quickly when exposed to moisture, which is exactly what we’re doing when we hang our bread product bird “treats” in our gardens.Diseases from moldy bread can cause feather malformations, making the birds unable to fly. Other diseases can also cause respiratory illness and even death.

A Better Idea

You can have the same enjoyable experience with your children and create treats for the birds in your wildlife garden by replacing those bread products with pine cones. You’d still dip them in peanut butter and roll them in quality bird seeds, but you are not creating a health hazard for your avian friends.The idea of a wildlife garden for the birds is to help them, not cause them any harm. So please don’t feed your birds bread.

Empty Carbs Cause Malnutrition

Bread, in a nutshell, is made up of “empty carbs.” That is to say, it’s very carbohydrate-rich, but offers little else in the way of nutrition. This is problematic, because it fills up the little tummies of wild birds real quickly — leaving them nice and full, but without the nutrients they actually need.In other words, bread is basically junk food for birds.What happens when you’re full? You don’t eat, of course. When birds eat too much bread, they’re satisfied for a good while and they don’t end up eating the things they need to grow healthily. This may not be a huge problem if their appetite eventually returns and they have good healthy food to munch on, but if they’re in an environment where humans are always around to feed them, it can create a negative feedback loop that causes a continual cycle of malnutrition, one which could eventually be fatal.Don’t believe us? Try to subsist solely off chocolate bars for a week straight. You’ll start to learn real fast what malnutrition feels like — it’s not fun for anybody, especially our precious wild birds.

The Babies Suffer

Did you know that by feeding bird populations bread, the little babies are often the ones that suffer the most from it? Think of the children!First of all, the malnutrition applies to chicks and ducklings as much as it does to their parents, only the effect is magnified because baby birds are more reliant on good nutrition since it’s needed to fuel their growth. By feeding little birdies bread, you’re inhibiting their growth and putting them at a disadvantage.Furthermore, young birds won’t learn the skills they need to properly feed themselves independently if they’re always relying on human handouts. Wild birds need to learn how to forage for their own foods, especially since most species are migratory and won’t be staying in one spot their whole life. One way or another, they will eventually need to find their own food. By feeding them bread, you may be denying them the learning experience they need to survive.

It Causes Overcrowding

Never will this be more apparent to you than when you feed a single seagull. It’s like clockwork — you feed a gull, just one tiny little gull, with seemingly none others nearby for miles, and within minutes you’ve got a flock of 150 of them as if from nowhere.Yeah, word spreads quickly around birds, and they seem to have a supernatural talent of knowing when one of their buddies is eating something delicious.It’s for this reason that bread feeding can lead to overpopulation. Humans get a kick out of sharing their bread with birds, and if it’s in a public space, there will always be people around to feed them.Birds aren’t dumb, and they’ll figure this out real quick — before you know it, they’ll be having babies in this paradise of free food, and you’ll have a bird problem. This, of course, can have adverse effects on the local ecosystem.

Bread is really,

Basically, bread robs birds of the opportunity to take in the true nourishment their bodies require to survive.To begin with, birds must be very

Eating bread can be

The bird doesn’t realize it has wasted an opportunity to be nourished, it has eaten its fill. It will continue going about its business, its body burning calories just the same. With a stomach stuffed full ofFor a small bird, this can lead to tragedy very quickly.

What food

The good news is we don’t have to stop feeding the birds in our backyards, we just need to feed them the right food—See ‘Quality Bird Seed and Clean Feeders Matter‘ for more information about healthy food you can provide for wild birds.

What you feed wild birds matters.

When we provide fresh, high quality food in our backyard feeders, we have the opportunity to support the good health and well-being of our local birds. This is no small thing!But, it’s doing more than that. Stop and consider the big picture:Want to know more about how to feed birds in your backyard? See ‘Backyard Habitats: Food‘ under the Resources tab above.