Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Although oats don’t seem like they’d supply much in the way of nourishment, this grain can really provide birds with a significant amount of protein and restore calories lost while foraging.

Oats are suitable for birds to eat since they are related to the grain that is grown commercially and the grain that is discarded in the wild. Because of their high protein content, oats are a crucial food item throughout the colder months. Birds that feed on the ground, such cardinals, blue jays, blackbirds, and sparrows, will gravitate toward your lawn if you plant oats there.

It’s true that the birds that oats tend to attract aren’t everyone’s favorites, but the small but interesting subset that really eats oats is fascinating in its own right.

Due to the fact that they eat food off the ground, oats scattered throughout the grass would be most appealing to them.

Ground-feeding birds can be attracted by providing them with oats on the grass or on a platform bird feeder, but never in a limiting hanging bird feeder.

In the wild, oats are just one element of their diet, so it’s best to combine them with other sources of nutrition like seeds, nuts, and maybe even dried mealworms to make sure they get all they need.

Uncooked oats it must be with no chance of using milk or water to soften oats up.

What will happen is the oats will be consumed for sure with the chance of wet oats drying on a birds beak like cement. Never boil oats again when a bowlful of dry oats or grain is enjoyed by a few old friends in the yard.

Its also likely oats can be neglected if a plenty of other preferred bird feed stays accessible. Oats of any kind tend to be included in seed or nut mixes, therefore I would advocate incorporating them into these combinations.

Oats, grain, and even cereal can be fed to birds instead of bird seeds, but only if they are kept dry and no liquids are added.

Because of the risk they provide to birds if they get wet, oats can’t be left out in the yard to rot, and oats that have been soaked will turn into a sticky, gummy mess.

Birds can eat oats

Can Birds Eat Oats

Oats are a common food for backyard birds, and many people feed them to their feathered friends without even realizing it.

Wild birds consume oat-like grains that have been farmed or that have been discarded near a processing factory.

In the wild, oats don’t make up much of the birds’ daily diet, but they can be a major staple if the birds’ usual food sources, such seeds, are unavailable.

Though it can be offered to birds year-round, the majority of the oats consumed by the few species that eat them likely occurs in the winter.

Common backyard birds that consume oats need to have them supplied raw, without any milk or water, as these liquids might harden on the beaks of the birds and are unhealthy for them.

Similar to how it’s okay to feed wild birds uncooked porridge oats, oat bran, steel cut oats, and quick oats, these foods can also be provided to birds in the wild.

Favored by grain eating birds

It’s possible that the birds that will flock to your backyard if you put out a steady supply of oats aren’t the ones you want to see there in the first place.

With a few notable exceptions, almost none of these birds will feed on bread or table leftovers.

What birds have in common that consume oats is that they are ground eating birds, and so to predominantly eat seeds in the wild.

Birds that will eat oats in your yard can include: Blue Jay, Common Grackle, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal and Red-Winged Blackbird.

As you can see with the exception of Northern Cardinals or Blue Jays that are a joy to have in the yard – Pigeons is a species you may wish to avoid.

Of course Sparrows are there to be sure no oats goes to waste, with any Red-winged Blackbirds nibbling on oats if this bird is near by.

Mix oats with seed mixes

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You can give only raw oats or processed oats to wild birds if it can be seen, which in turn will lead to birds consuming some of it.

However, if birds are accustomed to other dependable wild bird feed being used, such as seeds, nuts, or dried mealworms, oats may not be an exciting prospect on their own.

What you can do therefore is mix up your oats with seed mixtures or nuts, or use a bit of everything as birds can browse through the mix choosing what they want – while tossing what is not – or if is not part of their normal diet.

Adding oats to seed mixes ensures that at least some of the oats will be consumed, since seed-eating birds make up the bulk of oat-eating birds.

Cracked corn, millet, and oats are often included in wild bird seed blends, if you didn’t know that already.

Perfect then as its something seed-eating birds are fed on if utilizing seed mixes in bird feeder.

Oats straight from the package may not live long in a bird feeder, thus it is best to use an open-topped platform feeder or simply scatter the unused portion on the ground after a single sunny day.

Feed oats to ground birds only

Since oat-eating birds are the only birds that tend to eat only on the ground, you might not need to put up a bird feeder at all.

If you want to attract larger backyard birds like Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals, who would otherwise be unable to eat from a feeder due to their size, try scattering oats on the ground.

Although sparrows will eat oats from the ground, they will much rather access them from a platform bird feeder.

As blackbirds are almost always observed feeding on the ground, common grackles will have a difficult time using any bird feeder.

Pigeons are another bird that will eat oats, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to attract ground-feeding birds. Since the pigeon population is growing, few people enjoy providing food for the birds.

Until the pigeon problem is resolved, I’m going to quit feeding the birds in my backyard oats.

Since pigeons, like all other birds, need food, there’s no need to stop providing oats to the aforementioned species only because of the actions of one misbehaving bird.

Ground-feeding birds such as blue jays, grackles, sparrows, mourning doves, cardinals, and blackbirds are fond of oats.

Cereal alternative option

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Foraging birds can benefit from oats in the winter because of the high protein content, but other foods can also be provided.

Birds that eat oats will consume any type of dry cereal, so long as it is not drenched in milk, which can be harmful to them.

Oats can be processed into a wide variety of foods, the most common of which being morning oatmeal. If the ground is dry, feed the birds some oats or cereal.

Cereal scraps are cheaper and require less preparation than oats.

Like oats, cereal can go bad quickly if left out in the yard for hungry birds, so you’ll want to make sure it gets thrown away the same day you feed it to them. Cereal and oats left out for birds on a given day should be discarded.

Similarly, birds may ignore cereal of any brand unless it is combined with other foods that they find enticing.

Cereal including oats and other ingredients, such as seed mixes and/or dried mealworms, is a viable option.

In this method, you’ll be able to attract any bird that eats oats or cereal, and those birds will happily consume your offering along with the rest of their usual fare.

To summarize

A variety of oats, both uncooked and prepared (such as oatmeal in a cereal box), are readily consumed by common backyard birds.

Wild birds tend to prefer grain, however oats are a favorite food of blue jays, common grackles, eurasian sparrows, house sparrows, mourning doves, northern cardinals, and red-winged blackbirds.

Giving birds oats now could attract birds that you later find annoying, so if you’d rather not have them in your yard, you should hold off until they leave.

You should make the most of your oats if you also have other types of wild bird feed spread out on your lawn or in bird feeders, as the birds are less likely to eat the oats.

Therefore, oats will have to be combined with other ingredients, such as almonds or dried mealworms, in order to create a bird feed.

Since the only birds that would eat your oats are ground-feeding species, you shouldn’t put them in a bird feeder, and an open-top platform feeder is ideal.

Birds that are attracted to oats can also be enticed with any old dry breakfast cereal, which can serve as a supplement to the oats.

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