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Feeding the Birds
but not with bread

Many people think that it is a good thing to feed bread to birds. While it makes folk feel better to do so, it does the birds very little good, in fact in many cases it is bad for the birds.
The reason being is that there is hardly any nutritional value in bread for birds and whilst the bird may feel satisfied at the time, the bread provides no real nutritional benefit.

If a small bird fills up with bread on a cold winters evening it may not survive till morning as it will not have gained enough energy from the bread to fend of the cold.

It can also be potentially dangerous if too much bread been eaten by a bird as their digestive tracts were not designed to cope with bread, and dry bread in particular can swell up inside a bird and cause blockages preventing them from absorbing much needed nutrients. These blockages can sometimes be fatal.

Doves and Pigeons produce a milk-like substance in their crops to feed to their young. Bread may become impacted in their crops and can lead to infection and death. “Crop Stasis” is a condition where the crop in the oesophagus, stops emptying


and becomes distended with fermenting food and fluids. This is a serious, and life-threatening condition in birds.

You can buy food for wild birds at pet shops quite cheaply and this is so much safer and better for the birds. Why not put a bird feeder in the garden or on nearby trees and feed them with seeds and nuts (absolutely no salted nuts). These will attract all sorts of smaller birds. However, take care where you place feeders. If you place a feeder close to where birds are nesting they will spend much of their time defending their nest against perceived incomers (feeders) and their broods will usually suffer.

Remember also that feeding birds can become a long term job as birds can become dependent on you and may stop their natural foraging. If you suddenly stop feeding them they may have difficulties feeding themselves. That said, birds are more in need of feeders these days as there is a huge decline in natural fruits and seeds in the wild due to intensive farming and the removal of natural green space such as hedgerows etc. So, feeding birds is a good thing if you do it properly, and regularly.