Bread Crumbs for the Birds


We had a few ends of stale bread and were talking about throwing them away. So, I had the brainstorm to crumble them up to feed them to the sweet little birds in the backyard, such as the robins and others I haven't learned yet. Big mistake. A group of crows decided they needed the bread. Guess I'm not going to do that anymore :-) And, BTW, it's a tiny postage stamp of a backyard. At least it's clean.

badge posted by: cwcdesign on April 21, 2012 at 4:43 am in General discussions
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reply by: GinaG on April 21, 2012 at 5:23 am

Aren't they just the biggest bullies and gangsters, those guys?

We have ravens, they're unbelievable. We also have many other kinds of birdies but believe me, the ravens are always stirring things up.

There are deterrents if they become problematic, but you'll have to be creative about changing tactics often because they catch on quick. The main thing is to remove food and water access, including pet food. There are lots of things you can do. Meantime, at least they liked the bread. They aren't looking for baby birds or harassing others while they're eating.

reply by: cwcdesign on April 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

I actually didn't have a problem with them until we put the breadcrumbs out. So, I don't expect to see them again. There was another area near by where they were doing a whole lot of swooping - there might have been pet food there.

I'll stick to things that the little birds can't get elsewhere, such as thistle - also bird and butterfly attracting plants, but unless they are in pots, it will have to wait until we're in our own place :-)

reply by: swirth on April 21, 2012 at 9:32 am

We are about the most avid birders in the nation and I read and hear of folks throwing out their baking failures to the birdies all the time. Actually, that is not a good thing to do, according to many experts. One of our local TV stations from IN has a daily one hour program of Ask the Expert and a man who owns a Wild Birds Unlimited store is a frequent presenter. He says birds cannot digest yeast and similar baked products and these items present health issues for the birds. I have some info to check out from Cornell but cannot take time right now to gather it for placing here but will when I get to it.

I've never fed bread or baked goods to any of our birds as when I've tossed out a slice of hard bread, no one was interested in it (birds) and it draws in the coons, possums, skunks and other unwanted wildlife to the feeders.

Glad you have some sweet little birdies showing up for you to enjoy, Carol! We have so many nests with baby birds right now and the parents are running themselves ragged catching bugs for the little ones.

My 3 acre yard is aglow with blooming things currently and I've been adding new pics lately to my thread on the biridng forum if anyone is interested. Things bloomed a good 3-4 weeks early and I had to take some of the pics before we could get the yard spiffied up from the winter debris so some junk is there on display, as well. I broke a rib 31 days ago taking pics almost down to the ground and I can still barely breathe deeply and I cannot lift and pull on a lot of junk right now but the flowers are still gorgeous in spite of me being a klutz, =)!

reply by: omaria on April 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

You broke a rib ?!!! My goodness Swirth, that is soo painful and really not much can be done about it. I don't have to say to be more careful next time. An accident can come about so unexpectedly. I hope you will feel better soon. Ria.

reply by: cwcdesign on April 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm


I am so sorry to hear about your cracked rib - that is one painful experience! I do hope it is on the mend.

You should see the robins here - less than 1/2 the size of the ones in the States. I need a better bird book because I see birds I think I should know, but they're not quite the same.

I feel kind of silly about the bread crumbs, because right after we threw them, I thought of other critters that might come to share. I always used to worry about bird seed too close to the house that it would bring mice, etc. Anyway, I swept off the step before the birds came up there.

Oh, and there are no squirrels here. I guess there are some in a couple of parts of Ireland, but mostly not.

I'm off to check out your new pics!

EDIT: swirth, your weigela is just gorgeous! Love the Japanese maple "pinnochio noses" as well.

reply by: GinaG on April 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm


What swirth says about feeding birds is true. In fact, my father tosses every bread product he doesn't want right into the yard and when he's not looking, I go pick it up and put it in the trash.

It's been reported by myriad sourced that a teeny wee bit won't hurt them, but not to make a habit of it and if it's whole or multi-grain bread without chemicals, it can be okay, but not while babies are still in the nest because mama bird needs to feed them their typical high fat and protein diet so they'll thrive. If birds fill up on people food with empty calories, they have no room for the good stuff.

If birds have lots of worms and bugs and seeds, they're not generally interested in things like bread. I don't like food in the yards because it attracts ants which can be hostile to some seedlings and they love to harvest and protest aphids.

If you're going to give birds a little bread, make sure it isn't wet outside and it's cleaned up before you go to bed so it doesn't grow unhealthy stuff and you don't have nocturnal guests.

Oh, look---My ADD came in handy. I interrupted writing to see if there are any articles on the subject and I think this is a nice one.

There's a ton of controversy in this house about wildlife.
I wrote a story about that in my notes on my FB page (about) an injured baby Stellar Jay I rescued from the front yard and my grumpy father who melted after hot protests that I brought "that thing" in the house. Are you on Facebook?

Swirth, I hope your healing is rapid. Normally I encourage people to laugh a lot to feel better, but that's bad advice for someone with a broken rib!

reply by: pammyowl on April 22, 2012 at 1:36 am

Good grief! Another thing to worry about! We are a family of two, now, so we can't possibly eat everything I make. We give lots away, but sometimes throw it out in the park for the squirrels and birds. The dogs usually get it first, it is a game for them, but I certainly don't want to harm any animals! From now on, in the garbage it goes!

reply by: cwcdesign on April 22, 2012 at 4:40 am

As I said, the minute we threw the bread out there, I knew it was the wrong thing to do for certain reasons. But, I'm glad for the input for the reasons I didn't know, such as the yeast hurting the birds.

Thanks, swirth and Gina.

reply by: dachshundlady on April 22, 2012 at 6:40 am

I have heard that about bread too but I put mine out for the crows. I have a family of 5 that come and they do just fine. I also put out dry cat food for them. Then another big dish of dry cat food goes under a Little Tots play set (to keep it dry) and I end up feeding our stray cats (we trap, neuter and vaccinate them before releasing), raccoons, possums and even a nursing grey fox who comes every late spring/early summer to get a quick meal before going back to her kitts. What surprises me is that the blue jays fly down and go in the back of the little tots thing to eat cat food. I would think they would be afraid of being trapped but they do it all the time. Their cousins, the crows, won't so I feed them out in the open near a young tulip tree where one acts as sentinel as the others eat. Then they switch and take turns on guard. I know that crows and jays eat other baby birds which is so sad but then so do housecats. Mother Nature is very cruel. And I don't value a bird more than the baby bunny that a hawk will kill. Yes, there are a ton of bunnies but I still hate to see them killed. We have a pair of nesting red tailed hawks right behind the house and, as a result, have very, very few bunnies.

reply by: Mike Nolan on April 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm
Mike Nolan

Blue jays are fearless, and will drive off bigger birds.

I knew someone who had a screened-in porch, the jays found a small hole in the screening and would come in and eat food off the table.

reply by: dachshundlady on April 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Wow! That's just bold! Funny that their crow cousins are so cautious.

reply by: MangoChutney - Sandra Too on April 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm
MangoChutney - Sandra Too

I throw all my old bread into a bag in the freezer, and use it to thicken soups and stews sometimes instead of making a gravy with flour. For this purpose it is best to break or cut it into small chunks before you freeze it. Cutting a 2" thick heel into cubes when it is frozen is an exercise in dangerous futility, as the knife slips around on the hard material. The boiled bread gives a nice flavor to the dish and also an interesting texture.

reply by: GinaG on April 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm

We do that a lot in Italian cooking, using bread to thicken soups and such.
Of course, not to state the obvious, but there's always croutons or ground bread crumbs!

reply by: frick on April 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

swirth, I am so sorry about your rib. Broken! How on earth did you do that? I suppose you have been avoiding laugh-out-loud jokes for a while since laughing hurts like the dickens. I cracked some, three actually, recently and had enough grief tho they were just cracked. Finally slept on my left side last night for the first time in many weeks. I guess even though we work like crazy, we are more fragile than we want to believe.

reply by: GinaG on April 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm


Thanks for sharing the good news that you're on the mend, I'm so glad to hear that!