Feeding Christmas leftovers to garden birds

Once all the eating, drinking and being merry is over for Christmas Day, what to do with all the food that’s not been eaten? Here we provide some hints and tips for feeding your garden birds the very best of your Christmas leftovers.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year; one of joy, celebration, family and, of course, sharing. We all also know that Christmas comes with its own unique indulgence, a consequence of which is the leftovers we often have once the Christmas meal has arrived at it’s closing point…with a rather large, stuffed belly. Much of these leftovers can be saved for next day, but there’s usually still more to eat, so the question is can these be shared with your garden birds?

It turns out that a lot of what you eat at the Christmas dinner table can be handed over to your garden birds, but there’s a caveat: not all of it can be shared. Here’s our Christmas “a leftover carte” menu for your birds.

Roast potatoes

Roast potatoes are eaten by the vast majority of birds. Make sure you open them up before “serving”.

Cold brussel sprouts and carrots

Place enough outside for just a single day to attract Starlings.


A mild variety of low-salt hard cheese is a firm favourite among Robins and Blackbirds.


Old fruit such as apples and pears can be sliced, diced and put out to attract Starlings.

Stale cake and mince pies

In the unlikely event there’s a spare mince pie or two, give them to your birds.

Do’s and Don’ts of Christmas food for garden birds

Be aware, it is possible through kindness to cause harm. With the common struggle against potentially low temperatures in the lead up to and throughout winter, your garden birds’ immunity can easily hit a low point. Bacterial infections in certain foods such as turkey fat can be detrimental, and can even lead to death. On the flipside, there are certain Christmas classics, endorsed by the RSPB, that are perfectly acceptable to put out for your garden birds (hint: see the menu above).

#1 Don’t: Never feed fat from the roasting tin. It isn’t a supplement for suet, and has the potential to rot and go bad very quickly; it can lead to severe illness and even death for your garden birds that consume it.

#2 Don’t: Never put out overly-salty food. It can cause severe harm to a bird’s immune system.

#1 Do: feed from the menu above!