What Not To Feed Wild Birds? ( Harmful Foods For Wild Birds )

Food is a mandatory element for survival. Wild avian creatures survive by eating whatever comes in their way. 

They not only feed for themselves but also feed hundreds of flock-mates in their mealtime. 

While humans eat a variety of foods, the wildlife goes with whatever their eyes catch sight of. 

They love to share mealtime with pet companions and other birds in your gardens. 

If you can place a colorful bird feeder with varieties of foods that wild avian species would love to consume, you could be supporting their survival and growth in a way. 

Leftover foods, scraps, nuts, and fruits from the kitchen pantry can attract unique wild birds into your garden! While you may be too interested in feeding them with different foods, take utmost care to avoid foods that might potentially be toxic to such creatures. 

Avoid foods that might cause fatalities to the wild bird. 

What not to feed wild birds?

Some vegetables, fruits, and snacks from humans’ regular diet are poisonous to the wild birds, and it is always better to avoid feeding these items from your kitchen. 


The leaves of this superfood contain a fatty acid substance called persin and are usually used to destroy the fungus in vegetables or plants. 

When birds intake acid-rich avocados, it may cause a wide range of problems like heart failure, weakness, respiratory infections, and even lead to death.


The delicious mouth-watering chocolates contain caffeine and theobromine. It can affect the wild avian creatures’ digestive tract, cause diarrhea and vomiting, hyperactivity, induce seizures, and cause sudden death.


Unlike mammals, birds’ guts are intolerant to lactose, and feeding large quantities of milk can result in serious health issues or digestive problems in wild birds.

Fruits with seeds or pits

The rose family members like apples, cherries, apricots, pears, and peach seeds contain poisonous cyanide. Many times, the fruit skins are coated with pesticides that are toxic to the birds.


Even a tiny amount of salt can upset the fluid and electrolyte balance in the bird’s body and result in dehydration, excessive thirst, kidney dysfunction, and sudden death. Always feed unsalted crisps, nuts, and unsmoked raw bacon to the wild birds.


Cooked or uncooked fungus-type mushroom caps and stems cause serious digestive issues and also induce liver failure in the bird’s tiny body.


Caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, soda, and other drinks have great taste and aroma, make humans feel fresh, and stimulate tiredness. 

When birds drink one or two sips of caffeinated beverages, it turns toxic for them and causes increased heartbeats. They induce hyperactivity and arrhythmias and even results in sudden heart attacks in the wild feathered species.

Related Read: Can Birds Drink Milk | What Happens If A Bird Drinks Milk?


Consuming cooked or raw onions give heart benefits in humans, but they are poisonous to the feathered species. 

Onions irritate the bird’s mouth or esophagus by its sulfur compound nature and cause anemia by decreasing the count of red blood cells and even results in ulcers.


The Sicily vegetable garlic contains allicin. Excessive consumption can cause diarrhea and vomiting and even affect the digestive tract of the birds. The excessive consumption of garlic can lead to hemolytic anemia, breathing distress, and sudden death.

Dried beans 

The wild birds like to consume cooked beans as their favorite diet, but dry and raw beans have poison known as hemagglutinin which is poisonous to their tiny body.

Tomato leaves

Ripe red tomatoes are a delicious treat to the birds, but their leaves, vines, and stems have highly toxic agents, creating health issues for the tiny birds.

It’s better to remove the green part in the tomatoes during the cleaning process before feeding the birds.

Related Read: Can You Feed Birds Bread? | Will Birds Eat Bread?


Prolonged exposure to high-fat foods such as oil, butter, nuts, and uncooked fatty meats can develop high triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the walls of birds arteries and subsequent heart diseases.

Baked bread and cakes 

Avian creatures need a high protein and low carbohydrate diet to take long flights. Bread and cakes do not provide any nutritional value to the birds. It just fills and weighs them. 

The wild birds like to eat fresh coconut pieces, but desiccated coconut can be toxic to the birds if it is served without soaking in water. 

Cooked oats, when cooled down, form into concrete makes it impossible for birds to pick with their beaks to eat.

Broken biscuits, cookies, and whole peanuts can make young birds choke and avoid feeding them during the breeding season. 

What to feed wild birds from the kitchen cupboard or fridge?

To attract the wild birds into your backyard bird feeders, you can feed stocked food items from your kitchen pantries like raisins, butter, and more, which is an occasional delicious treat loved by feathered creatures.

Cooked rice and pasta

Cooked white and brown rice is a healthy, protein and carbohydrates kitchen food, which the wild birds love in your backyard. Before offering to the birds, you must thoroughly wash cooked pasta and rice to remove oil, salt, and other processed sauce or herbs in it.

Sweet corn, potatoes, and peas

Feathered species have difficulties digesting veggies, but one can offer cooked, skin peeled, and leftover mashed potatoes, sweet corn, and peas to the birds mixed with sunflower seeds. But processed potato chips, fries, and crisps are toxic to avian creatures.

Peanut butter

Some wild birds, including woodpeckers, brown creeper, wrens, and wood thrush, are the biggest fans of delicious peanut butter. You can hang a jar of peanut butter in your gardens to offer occasional treats to them.


Many wild birds love to eat raisins from your pantry. Before providing to the birds, you need to soak raisins in warm water to make them soft and comfortable to peck for birds.


You can feed apples, berries, mashed bananas, melon, pumpkin, and squash seeds to the wild birds.

What food scraps can I feed to the wild birds?

Food scraps are one of the most accessible available food options and are affordable too. Of course, there is no home that goes without leftovers. 

You can attract unique wild avian species to your garden to enjoy different varieties of some appealing, delicious, and healthiest kitchen scraps along with the regular birdseed.


You can offer scraps of beef grease drippings, meat bones, bacon rinds, and fat beef trimmings that contain essential nutrients for the birds.

Pet food

Formulated dogs and cats biscuits and pet food are healthy and nutritious, rich edible food sources for avians. You must moist or crush the dried pet food before feeding to the birds.


One can offer leftover rolled or quick cereals or oats or stale to the wild birds. Always feed less artificial dyed sugary foods to them. Balance their feed with nutritious and appealing grains to the avians.

Eggs and eggshells

Cooked eggs provide essential nutritious value to the bird’s diet, and crushed eggshells play a significant role in offering calcium for breeding birds and also helps for their digestion process.


You can offer finely crushed whole nuts such as peanuts, pecans, almonds, and walnuts to the wild birds. Freshly chopped coconuts can be added to the birdfeeder, but avoid feeding caramelized or spice flavoring nuts to the birds.


Birds love to eat mild cheese flavors such as mild cheddar or American, but avoid feeding them soft, creamy, rotten, or moldy cheese as they might disrupt their digestive systems.

While several food options are available to be fed to the wild avian species, it is always better to do our research before offering it to them.

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