syhousesparrow.jpgBread should not be fed to birds in the breeding season asits nutritional content is very low, says the RSPB. Young birds that are fedbread by their parents may not get everything they need to develop healthily. 

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Bread bad for birds

syhousesparrowfeeding.jpgSeeds are are far more nutritious food for House Sparrows than bread. Photo: Steve Young ( 

Millions of bird lovers put food out for wild birds thinkingthat it will aid their survival but according to the latest advice from theRSPB, feeding birds bread may not be helping them at all.

Bread holds little nutritional value and the Society suggeststhat better foods for birds include cake crumbs, crushed biscuits, gratedcheese, leftover jacket potatoes, breakfast cereals, overripe strawberries orapples and porridge oats.

While granary breads with seeds are marginally healthierthan cheaper white sliced loaves both simply fill the birds up without doingsufficient good. During the breeding season birds need energy to support themwhile they feed their young as their own reserves can easily be worn down bythe demands of looking after hungry nestlings.

Val Osborne, the RSPB’s Head of Wildlife Inquiries, said:“There are many other household foods that would be much better for them. Breaddoesn’t actually contain any of the vital ingredients to provide birds with theenergy they need to breed and feed. "

The advice is mainly aimed at those people who feed thebirds in their back gardens but also applies to feeding swans and ducks foundon lakes, ponds and rivers. Seed cake and fruit loaf would be slightly betterthan a Victoria sponge but the sugar content would mean that any cake should bea useful source of energy.

It is believed that the rise of the Goldfinch to become oneof the most frequent visitors to gardens is because more people are leaving outhigh-energy seeds for them. The quality of commercial birdfood had risendramatically. According to Chris Packham, naturalist, broadcaster and RSPB VicePresident,  “If you are serious aboutfeeding a bird you really have to put your hand in your pocket these days.”

Find more details about feeding birds here

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