Share your Christmas Dinner with the birds
Our homes are full of festive food at this time of year as we prepare to celebrate Christmas with a tantalising roast dinner. Here at CJ Wildlife, we know lots of you will want to treat your garden birds too.
After all, they delight us with year-round visits and fun antics, plus their own wild food supplies are likely to be dwindling as the winter stretches on. However, tempting as it is to go out with a tray of Christmas leftovers, bird lovers need to be very careful about what they put on their feeding stations for their feathered friends to eat.
Although people assume that all the things we eat will be suitable for sparrows, robins and other species too, the truth is that some aren't - indeed, certain foods can be toxic, so people might unwittingly be harming these creatures.
To help you out in knowing what's okay to provide and what's not, we've put together this handy reference guide for festive food. You can download it and share amongst friends and family too.
Good to give at Christmas
- Uncooked, unprocessed and unsalted meat fat is actually good for birds because it is full of calories. Suet or lard can be put out in chunks for birds to peck at, or add in one of our seed mixes including dried mealworms for extra protein to make a nutritious bird-friendly main course.
- Many people are also unaware that cooked roast potatoes are suitable for birds too. Leave to go cold then just cut them up and add to your feeding stations.
- In fact, a small portion of cold cooked vegetables will be a healthy option too. Birds will happily tuck into carrots, parsnips, peas and even sprouts if you have any left over.
- Moving on to a festive dessert and tasty treats include the crumbs from Christmas cake, mince pie pastry and biscuits - which are full of fat and fruit providing lots of energy.
- Mix wedges of fallen fruit with some grated hard mild cheese and your banquet is complete.
Note: If you are providing dried fruit for your birds, remember this can be seriously harmful to dogs and cats so keep it contained within your bird table.
Foods on the 'Naughty List'
These foods should only be enjoyed by humans and not offered on your bird feeding stations.
- Turkey fat is an absolute no - it stays soft even when they cool and soo could cover birds' feathers, damaging their ability to stay warm. Just so you know, our fat balls are a perfect alternative as we create these to special recipes so remain a firm consistency in all weathers.
- Indeed, all leftover meat juices that we typically have at Christmas - including ham and goose - are unsuitable because they go off very quickly and can therefore become breeding grounds for bacteria, which could cause poisoning.
- Snacks such as supermarket nuts, crisps and pretzels are also bad for birds because they usually have high levels of added salt, which is toxic, while chocolate is also poisonous because of the theobromine it contains. Instead give birds unsalted, unprocessed nuts contained in a mesh feeder.
- Finally, despite bread being something many people throw out for their feathered friends, it isn't actually the best thing you can give them. Although it isn't dangerous, it doesn't contain many nutrients and so fills their stomachs up but with minimal calories needed, potentially reducing their ability to stay warm.
Trust the experts
You should now have a good idea about what's risk-free and what's dangerous for birds, but if you are in any doubt, you can always be sure you are giving them the best foods available by purchasing food items that have been specifically designed with your garden birds in mind. We stock a whole range at CJ Wildlife, including our festive suet treats shaped like snowflakes, Christmas trees and a Christmas wreath, which are fun but really nutritious at the same time. Or give them something that will last well after the celebrations with our winter bird cake pack.
With this advice and our specialist products, you can treat the birds in your garden to their own Christmas - just don't forget to put out plenty of fresh drinking water to wash it all (and themselves) down with!
This sound bird advice is 'not just for Christmas, but for life!'