What Can You Feed Wild Birds in Winter?

what can you feed wild birds in winter

Wild birds require a nutritious diet of nuts, high-fat seeds and grains, nutritious insects and several fruits to survive winter. Unfortunately, snow and ice often obscure these foods, making them difficult to locate.

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Winter birds depend on suet, which is a saturated fat found around animals’ kidneys. This provides them with plenty of energy to get through cold days and nights.



Suet is one of the best foods to feed wild birds during wintertime due to its high fat and calorie content. This is essential during this period when insects are scarce and birds require plenty of energy to stay warm.

Seed feeders provide food and shelter to many species of wild bird, such as woodpeckers and nuthaches. Furthermore, it attracts other birds that don’t often visit seed feeders, like chickadees and tufted titmice.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is an irresistible, high-protein spread enjoyed around the world. Made with roasted peanuts and a sprinkle of salt, it can provide your daily recommended intake (RDI) of vitamins and minerals. A nutritious choice, peanut butter can make for an enjoyable snack or breakfast on its own.

When shopping for peanut butter, opt for natural varieties without added sugar. Many commercially produced peanut butters contain granulated white sugar, cane syrup, agave nectar or coconut palm sugar to thicken the spread and reduce its calorie count.

Hydrogenated oils are added to stabilize the blend and prevent separation of oil from roasted peanuts. This process also increases the amount of saturated and trans fats present in peanut butter.


Wild birds require a great deal of energy and protein in winter to remain warm. Seeds and fruit can provide them with this necessary fuel source.

Nuts, such as peanuts and acorns, are a favorite winter snack for many wild birds. Being high in fat and protein, they’re especially appealing to titmice, chickadees, wrens, and woodpeckers with strong bills that can crack open the nuts easily.

Windfall apples, pears and other fruits provide a nutritious source of protein for wildlife in wintertime. Be sure to remove all seeds or kernels from the fruit before giving it to birds as these can be poisonous if not removed beforehand.


Winter can be a particularly challenging time for wild birds. Their natural food sources, like insects and seeds, may become scarcer during this season due to snowfall and ice.

Fortunately, you can provide wild birds with essential nutrition during this cold period by offering them foods high in fat and calories. Doing so will keep them warm and healthy as they struggle to find food sources outside.

Black-oil sunflower seed is a popular wintertime food to offer birds. Not only does it provide them with calories and oil for energy, but also essential fats and oils for birds’ feathers.


Millet is a grain that’s becoming increasingly popular due to its many health advantages, including its capacity for drought resistance. Not only that, but it’s also packed full of essential nutrients, gluten-free and easy to prepare – making it an ideal breakfast or snack choice.

Millet can be toasted to enhance its flavor and then cooked in similar ways as other whole grains, like oatmeal or pilaf. Alternatively, it may be steamed for a softer, creamier preparation.

Millet is not only a source of fiber, but it’s also packed with antioxidants. These compounds fight against free radicals that can damage cells within your body. Furthermore, millet has been linked to reduced oxidative stress – helping maintain healthy cholesterol levels and decreasing heart disease risks.