I hope you meant to provide the birds freshly cooked but unwanted food that serves many birds, as “scraps” does not necessarily indicate food off your plate that is designated for the garbage.
You may provide nutritious, not just filler food, to the wild birds you see by using items from your kitchen. Filler foods like bread are OK on occasion, as are cereals, pasta, and rice. Real beef fat, fresh or stale fruit, and a pastry, cheese, or potato are all necessities. As an alternative, you might give away any unused pet food.
To answer the question, “What kitchen leftovers can birds eat?” we can safely say that birds can eat any scraps of food that do not contain salt, flavorings, or sauces used to soak up the meal.
Bread is a common option, but it should only be given to birds on rare occasions. Other options include prepared pizza dough, pasta, rice, and cereal.
Obviously, birds wouldn’t eat this in the wild, but any leftovers could potentially attract the wrong species.
Fruit-eating birds would like it if you put out a variety of fresh and stale fruit for them to eat, such as apple wedges, orange slices, grapes, and strawberries. You may even put out a bowl of mixed dried fruits that you no longer want but the birds will enjoy.
When meat fat or grease is drizzled over baked or mashed potatoes that have been cooked but allowed to cool, they are more likely to be consumed.
Anything heavy in animal fat is worth a shot when wondering what leftovers birds can eat from the fridge, cupboard, or pantry.
Common backyard birds are partial to suet, so the rendered fat from a beef joint or the rind or grease from an unsalted bacon joint would be well received.
To avoid contamination, never put table scraps in a bird feeder; instead, provide each bird with its own bowl or plate and feed it directly from there.
Hardly any bread if possible
Wild birds can be attracted to our backyards if we provide them with a variety of foods, with an emphasis on providing as little bread as possible.
Bread of any kind should be viewed solely as a filler, as it serves its intended purpose of satiating birds’ appetites but provides them with almost no actual nutrients. In reality, to solely feed bread to birds would eventually kill them if that’s all they’re consuming.
Birds can eat bread occasionally, but only if extra seeds or crushed nuts are added to give each slice more nutritional value.
Even better, especially in the colder months, is the simple act of spreading unsalted butter or margarine on a piece of bread.
Similarly, if you have birds, you can give them bread crumbs, but only in very little quantities.
Never put bread in feeders, and if you insist on throwing it on the lawn, make sure it stays dry.
Mild grated cheeses
Surprisingly, common backyard birds can be enticed with cheese, if they accept it.
Feeding birds cheese in the winter or throughout the cooler months is safe because cheese is fatty but likely unsalted.
Blackbirds and Wrens might eat it, but that’s not a given.
Cheeses with a strong, harsh flavor aren’t good choices for birds because they might be difficult for their delicate digestive systems, but mild cheeses are a better option.
Since chunks or slices of cheese would be difficult for birds to eat, cheese would have to be graded so that the birds could easily take what they need.
Furthermore, American cheese (the soft, orange individual slices in packets) should not be fed to birds since it melts quickly and might cause feather tangles.
Winter is the best season to feed birds grated cheese since it helps them restore lost fat while also providing a much-needed energy boost.
Fresh or old fruits
There are several species of birds that consume fruit in the wild, and these are the same birds that would devour whatever fruit you left out, whether it was fresh or stale.
To attract orioles, split an orange in half and skewer it on a spike or a limb; to attract American robins, offer them slices of apple.
Dried fruit is readily accepted by most species of fruit-eating birds, including thrashers, tanagers, chickadees, bluebirds, starlings, catbirds, finches, and many others.
Raisins, apricots, and even dried banana slices are the best dried fruits to provide wild birds.
If the skin of your fresh fruit is very tough, you can easily cut it in half, or you can slice it into more manageable chunks.
In the same way that apple flesh swiftly recovers from a minor bruise, wild birds are quite content to eat older, slightly damaged food.
Believe it or not, the birds in your backyard will eat your favorite morning cereal if it is completely dry and has no milk or sugar added.
Dryness is a requirement right out of the box, and flavored cereals with pieces, salt, or chocolate coatings are off limits.
Remember that even what seems like a small amount of salt can be deadly to birds.
Wild birds can be fed traditional cornflakes, unflavored cheerios, branflakes, Rice Krispies, and similar cereals.
Never give a bird breakfast cereal like Frosted Flakes, CoCo Pops, or any other flavored or coated cereal, including chocolate and honey.
Birds like Blackbirds and Sparrows, among others, may enjoy your breakfast cereal since it tastes similar to their favorite foods, bread, pastry, and pasta.
Even if you don’t cook the oats for your morning porridge, you can still feed them to your feathered friends, but make sure to keep a water source nearby.
Real fat pastry
Pastry, which is high in fat, can supplement a bird’s diet in the winter, allowing it to regain some of the weight it lost over the season.
Because only the beef fat component is beneficial to birds, true fat pastry produced in beef fat is what you should be utilizing.
Pastry made for pastry delights, but saved for the wild birds, can be offered either cooked or uncooked.
Make your homemade pastry rolls, or use up the last of your store-bought pastry, and put them out on an elevated platform in the yard for the neighborhood birds to enjoy.
When providing birds with additional fatty scraps, whether from packaging or freshly cooked in the kitchen, many birds will enjoy nibbling on little slices of raw or cooked pastry, which is ideal for absorbing real bacon grease or real beef fat.
Cooked pasta or rice
Generally speaking, most birds won’t eat cooked grains like pasta or rice, but some species, like bluebirds, sparrows, and even American robins, might.
Birds will only eat rice and pasta if they are cooked, as the dry versions aren’t appealing to them because of their unfamiliarity with these foods.
Because salt is so poisonous to birds, you should never put any of it into the water used to make pasta or rice that will be fed to wild birds. This implies that you can’t rely on any pre-made Asian-inspired rice dishes like Pilau.
Pasta should only be long grain or whole wheat and rice should be long grain or whole wheat.
Set aside a plate or bowl and use it to store a tiny amount of unseasoned pasta, rice, or both if you’re having both for supper.
If you have any leftover rice or pasta, don’t eat it because it’s probably contaminated with something you shouldn’t eat, such as a sauce or curry.
Meat fat or bacon rind
There will always be a plethora of the bird species that are likely to eat animal fat, as suet cakes or fat balls are essentially the same thing that birds would eat at your bird feeders.
Pork fat, or more ideally raw beef fat, would be removed from a beef roast joint, steak, or other similar cut of meat.
A large number of birds could be fed by putting small amounts of fat out for them to snack on. It’s crucial to anchor the heaviest pieces of food to the platform, because else the larger birds will carry it all away.
The safety of feeding birds bacon rind is a topic of ongoing discussion; the food is heavy in salt and may be harmful in big quantities. But even if unsalted bacon is hard to come by, there’s always the chance to feed it to birds.
Aside from safe bacon grease, other rendered pork fats can be used to entice wild birds to eat other foods, such as rice, pasta, or bread.
Few people realize that boiled potatoes are a suitable food for our native birds.
However, if you find yourself with an abundance of baked potatoes or mashed potatoes, you can throw the extras into a dish and feed them to the birds.
Unsalted butter or rendered beef fat added to the mushy potato may entice some birds to consume it, although this is unlikely. Also, grated cheese works well as a garnish, but you should never put salty baked beans on top.
Surprisingly, birds that we want to eat our French fries usually avoid them, yet the same birds and others will often eat a baked potato or a creamy mash.
Serve any cooked potato, but make sure it has had time to chill.
Avoid placing any potato-based dish, including chips, on a wooden bird feeder platform or garden furniture. Instead, you’ll need to use a plate or dish to serve potatoes, as birds will perch on the edge of the serving surface in order to eat.
Cat or dog food
Obviously, birds aren’t going to benefit from human meal leftovers, but if your dog or cat occasionally rejects a new flavor of canned food, you could feed it to them instead.
Serving it to birds in the wild is a simple way to get rid of old pet food, whether it’s the canned or dry variety.
Wet, chunky dog food from a can is fine for birds to eat. It’s loaded with calories and fat, but it’s also packed with nutrients that your dog needs on a regular basis.
If you want to serve your birds dry dog food from sachets or dog biscuits, you can, but it’s preferable to soften them up in water first.
Common backyard birds will eat cat food, too. The birds particularly enjoy the jellies, chunks, and vegetables in the diet. It’s likely that large pieces of meat will be avoided, but they’re fine to consume if you insist.
If you leave pet food outside for your cat or dog, it will likely attract stray cats that will try to get in through the fence.