feeding garden birds – the zero waste way

Filed in Blog by on March 10, 2014 1 Comment
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feeding garden birdsLast week I talked about the idea of donating household items – things that might otherwise be thrown away – to birds for nesting material!

This week I want to talk about how birds can help us reduce food waste.

The RSPB recommend we now feed garden birds throughout the whole year; not just during the winter.

From bacon to tinned cat food there are plenty of scraps you can share.

Just make sure nothing is mouldy and offer a good variety of foods – too much bread isn’t good for birds.

 Bacon Rind

If you’re in the habit of cutting off and throwing away the bacon rind; chop it into small pieces and put it on the bird table instead.

Cake, biscuit and bread crumbs

Slightly stale crumbs that you might normally throw away can be scattered on the ground outside.


Who’s left the cheese uncovered yet again? If the end of your block of cheese has gone hard, grate it up and the birds will eat it.

Coconut shells

After you’ve masterfully cracked open your coconut and eaten what you like, hang the shell outside for the blue tits to enjoy.

Cooked rice

Eyes bigger than your belly on curry night? I’ve never yet seen a bird eat cooked rice in our garden, but apparently some do, so why not give it a go?

Dried fruit such as raisins, sultanas and currants

If you’re clearing out the baking cupboard, pop your bits of dried fruit outside.

Dry breakfast cereal including uncooked porrage oats

You’re decluttering the empty cereal packets too? Great! Empty out the dusty dregs onto the patio and watch the birds squabble over them.

Fresh fruit

If your child is sulking because they’ve got the bruised piece of apple, let them cut it up into small pieces and add it to the bird feast instead.

Lard and raw beef suet

Get every last dreg of suet by shaking out the bag. If you don’t normally buy it and want to perform a random act of kindness, ask your local butcher to get in on the act – he might give you a freebie!

Pastry crumbs

If you’ve been baking, don’t scrape the crumbs into the bin, put them on the bird table instead. Cooked or uncooked; it doesn’t matter!


Mashed, roast or baked; pop an extra potato in the oven, leave to cool then chop up for the birds.

Soaked dog biscuits

Who knew!? Shake out the dust from the bottom of the packet before moistening with water. Once the crumbs have soaked up the water feed them to the birds!

Tinned Cat and dog food

If your cats and dogs are anything like mine there won’t be any scraps. But IF you do find yourself with tin scrapings add them to the bird buffet.

Remember to put some food up high and some on the ground to attract different birds to your garden.

What about you – do you have anything else to add to the list?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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  1. This is such a great idea! We usually put scraps like this in the compost pile but I am now excited to start feeding the birds with some of them. Thanks!

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