Bird Nutrition & DietBIRDSCATS

10 Tasty and Healthy Treats That Birds Love

If you love birds and want to attract them to your backyard, then providing them with tasty and healthy treats is a great way to keep them happy and full of energy. Birds have different food preferences and dietary requirements, and choosing the right treats can improve their overall well-being. In this article, we will introduce you to the top 10 bird treats that are not only delicious but also provide essential nutrients that they need to thrive.

Key Takeaways

  • Providing treats to birds is crucial for their satisfaction and well-being.
  • Not all treats are suitable for birds, and it’s essential to choose ones that have the necessary nutritional value for birds.
  • Sunflower seeds, fresh berries, mealworms, suet, dried fruit, and homemade treats are some of the best bird treats.
  • By offering birds treats, you can attract a variety of bird species to your backyard.
  • Making homemade bird treats can be a fun and rewarding activity for you and your feathered friends.
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Why Treats Are Important for Birds

Feeding birds treats is not only enjoyable for us, but it also provides essential benefits for our feathered friends. While a bird’s regular diet may provide necessary nutrients, offering treats can supplement their nutritional intake and promote overall well-being.

Treats are essential for certain times of the year, such as during migration or the winter months when food sources may be scarce. They can offer much-needed energy and sustenance during these challenging times.

Additionally, treats can provide variety in a bird’s diet, preventing boredom and encouraging them to visit your feeding station more frequently. This can be especially important for birdwatchers looking to attract a diverse range of species to their yard.

When selecting treats, it’s important to consider the nutritional needs and preferences of the birds you are trying to attract. Some birds may prefer seeds, while others may enjoy fruits, insects, or nuts. By providing a range of treat options, you can increase the likelihood of attracting a variety of feathered visitors to your yard.

Choosing the Right Treats for Birds

When it comes to feeding your feathered friends, not all treats are created equal. It’s essential to choose treats that are both tasty and nutritious to keep birds healthy and happy. Here are some tips for selecting the perfect treats.

Bird Preferences

Consider the types of birds that frequent your backyard and their preferred foods. For example, some birds may prefer seeds, while others enjoy fruits or insects. Catering to their preferences will attract more birds and ensure they keep coming back for more.

Dietary Needs

It’s vital to choose treats that supplement a bird’s regular diet, providing essential nutrients they may not be getting elsewhere. Avoid offering treats that are high in sugar or salt, which can be harmful to birds. Instead, opt for treats with healthy fats, protein, and fiber.

Safe Options for Different Species

Some treats may not be suitable for certain bird species, so it’s crucial to research which treats are safe for the birds in your area. For example, chocolate can be toxic to birds, and avocado should be avoided. When in doubt, stick to natural and unprocessed treats.

TreatBenefitsSafe for Species
Sunflower SeedsHigh in healthy fats, protein, and fiber.Safe for most bird species.
Fresh BerriesRich in vitamins and antioxidants.Safe for most bird species.
MealwormsPacked with protein and essential nutrients.Safe for insectivorous bird species.
SuetHigh in calories and beneficial during colder months.Safe for most bird species.
Dried FruitNutritious and convenient.Safe for most bird species.

By following the above guidelines, you can choose treats that are both safe and appealing to the birds in your backyard. Happy bird feeding!

1. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a nutritious and beloved treat for many bird species. They provide a rich source of healthy fats, fiber, and protein that can help birds maintain their energy levels and health. Sunflower seeds come in two main varieties: striped and black oil. Striped sunflower seeds have a harder shell than black oil seeds, making them less accessible to small birds but more durable in wet weather. Black oil seeds are smaller and have a thinner shell, making them easier to crack open.

You can offer sunflower seeds to birds in a variety of ways, such as in a feeder or scattered across the ground. If using a feeder, make sure it is easy to access and clean to prevent the spread of disease. Keep in mind that sunflower seeds are high in fat, so moderation is key. Too many can lead to obesity and health problems for birds.

Pros– High in healthy fats, fiber, and protein
– Comes in two varieties: striped and black oil
– Easy to store and offer to birds
– Attracts a wide variety of bird species
Cons– High in fat, so must be offered in moderation
– Can be expensive if feeding large flocks of birds

Overall, sunflower seeds are a great addition to any bird feeding routine. They provide essential nutrients and are easy to offer to birds in a variety of ways. By keeping moderation in mind, you can help keep your feathered friends healthy and satisfied.

2. Fresh Berries

If you want to attract a variety of feathered visitors to your backyard, fresh berries are a sweet and juicy treat that birds absolutely love. Not only are these treats delicious, but they also offer essential nutrients like antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. However, not all berries are safe for birds and some can even be harmful to their health.

Berry TypeBird PreferencesBenefitsHow to Serve
BlueberriesThrasher, catbird, mockingbird, waxwingAntioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and KPlace the berries on a platform feeder or mesh bag.
BlackberriesThrasher, catbird, mockingbird, waxwing, kingbirdAntioxidants, fiber, and vitamins A and CPlace the berries on a platform feeder or in a shallow dish.
RaspberriesThrasher, catbird, mockingbird, waxwingAntioxidants, fiber, and vitamins C and KPlace the berries on a platform feeder or in a mesh bag.
StrawberriesOriole, waxwing, thrush, bluebirdAntioxidants, fiber, and vitamin CPlace the berries on a platform feeder or in a shallow dish.

To ensure the safety of birds, avoid feeding them moldy or fermented berries. Serving berries on platforms or in shallow dishes can help prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria. You can also offer different types of berries at the same time to attract a wider range of birds.

3. Mealworms

When it comes to providing birds with protein, mealworms are a top choice. Not only do they satisfy a bird’s hunger, but they also offer many health benefits. Mealworms are a good source of essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in saturated fat, making them a healthy treat for birds.

If you’re considering offering mealworms to your feathered friends, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure to purchase mealworms from a reputable source to ensure they are safe for consumption. Also, keep in mind that mealworms come in both live and dried forms, so choose the option that works best for you and your birds.

Live MealwormsDried Mealworms
  • Require no prep work
  • Attract a wider variety of birds
  • Must be kept in a cool, dark place
  • Can be more expensive
  • Convenient and easy to store
  • Less messy than live mealworms
  • Attract fewer bird species
  • May require rehydration before feeding

Offering mealworms to birds is an excellent way to enhance their diet while providing a tasty treat. However, it’s essential to keep moderation in mind and not rely on mealworms as the sole source of nutrition. With the right balance, mealworms can be an enjoyable and beneficial part of your bird feeding routine.

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4. Suet

During the colder months, suet is an excellent treat for birds to regain their energy and maintain body heat. It is a high-energy food that is made from the fat of beef or mutton. Suet is beneficial for birds as it provides them with high levels of protein, calories, and essential nutrients.

Nutritional Value of Suet

Suet is particularly beneficial for birds that need to build up their energy supplies during the winter months. It is high in fat, protein, and healthy nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron. These vital nutrients help the birds to maintain their body weight, regulate their metabolism, and strengthen their immune system.

How to Serve Suet to Birds

Suet can be offered to birds in various ways, such as in block form, in suet cages or nets, or mixed with birdseed. When presenting suet blocks, ensure they are free from any packaging, rope, or twine that may cause harm to the birds. Suet cages or nets can be hung from trees or bird tables for birds to peck away at the treat. It’s best to provide suet to birds in the morning, as it can easily spoil in high temperatures.

Homemade Suet Options

If you prefer DIY options, making your own suet can be easy and cost-effective. You can use common household ingredients such as peanut butter, oats, dried fruit, and nuts. For a simple recipe, mix one part melted suet with two parts of birdseed or other bird-friendly ingredients. Ensure to let the mixture cool and harden before serving it to birds.

5. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a convenient and nutritious treat that birds simply love. Not only is it tasty, but it also helps to supplement a bird’s diet with essential vitamins and minerals.

When choosing dried fruits for bird feeding, it’s important to select options that are free from artificial preservatives and additives. Some of the best dried fruits to consider include:

Dried cranberriesRich in antioxidants and vitamin C
Dried blueberriesHigh in fiber and potassium
Dried apricotsGood source of iron and vitamin A
Dried raisinsContain iron and potassium

When offering dried fruit to birds, it’s important to ensure that it’s moist enough for them to consume. You can do this by soaking it in water for a few minutes before serving. Additionally, make sure to monitor how much dried fruit your feathered friends are consuming, as overfeeding can lead to health complications.

By offering dried fruit as part of their diet, you can attract a wide variety of birds to your backyard and help them thrive.

10. Homemade Treats

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try making your own homemade bird treats? Not only is it a fun and rewarding activity, but you can also ensure that the treats are packed with nutritious ingredients that meet your feathered friends’ dietary needs.

One easy recipe is to mix peanut butter, birdseed, and rolled oats. Simply roll the mixture into balls and freeze them before offering them to the birds. Another option is to make a fruit and nut cake by mixing chopped nuts, dried fruit, and whole wheat flour. Bake it in a cake tin and cut into small squares to serve.

When making homemade treats, make sure to avoid ingredients that may be harmful to birds, such as chocolate, caffeine, and avocado. Store the treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to keep them fresh.

Offering homemade treats is a great way to add variety to your bird feeding routine while ensuring that your feathered friends stay healthy and happy.


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