SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Birds are creatures of the sky, with quick metabolisms and small stomachs. For this reason, birds must be efficient eaters; otherwise, they won’t get the necessary nutrients to survive, especially if these are wild birds. Ideally, birds should be filling up on food with a high density of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. 


Bread gives no nutritional value for birds, especially white bread. It fills them up and they won’t have a balanced diet. Bread can also give birds “angel wing syndrome,” which primarily affects aquatic birds like ducks and geese. The last joint of the wing will get twisted out laterally instead of lying against its body, making them incapable of flight. 


Just like with cats and dogs, chocolate is toxic to birds. Chocolate contains both theobromine and caffeine, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, increase heart rate, result in hyperactivity, induce tremors and seizures, and even cause cardiac arrest. 

Nuts made for humans

Often, nuts that humans buy and consume have large amounts of salt and possibly sugar. Salt is toxic to birds. A salted nut to you could possibly be life-threatening for a bird. Experts agree, if you’re unsure whether or not you should feed a particular food to an animal, don’t do it. 


This fruit contains persin, which is an anti-fungal toxin that can cause lung and heart problems in birds, and possibly even lead to death. There are some birds able to eat avocados, but it can be difficult to tell which bird, and experts agree it’s better not to guess. 

In general, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says not to feed wild animals, including birds, not only for the animal’s health and wellbeing, but also for ethical reasons as well. Feeding wild animals can increase likelihood of disease. It can lure them into a place predators are more likely to reside. It can be more likely to cause birds flying toward glass, and it can even change behavior. According to a study, Cardinals and Carolina wrens have extended their range north because of bird feeders. 

If you’d like to feed birds, consider buying seeds and nuts, specifically designed for them. At Liberty Park’s Tracy Aviary, attendees can buy a selection of seeds and nuts, specifically designed for the health of birds.