Wild Bird Feeding – Unusual Treats for Attracting Birds

Foods to Attract More Wild Birds for Your Enjoyment

wild-birds-eating-jellyMany of us LOVE attracting wild birds to our backyards and surrounding property just for the joy of watching them. I’m one of those people. I’ve had bird feeders in my yard for many, many years and have filled my feeders with hundreds, now probably thousands, of pounds of black oil sunflower seeds (my wild bird food of choice) too. I’ve also had good luck attracting birds with safflower seeds – loved by gold finches (and to deter the squirrels) – and suet placed in suet cages that all the birds gobble up.

But sometimes, people do have trouble attracting more than just a few birds, and wonder what else they can try. Well … here’s some ideas you probably haven’t heard about, and a couple you probably have, but maybe were skeptical to try.

Grape Jelly

Grape jelly, fed in a VERY SMALL portion like a tablespoon full at most, is favored by wild birds such as woodpeckers, orioles, tanagers, finches and many others, too.

Again I will stress – please only feed a spoonful. Place in a small shallow dish or you can use a jar lid.

The sugar content in the grape jelly makes it a high-energy food for feeder birds. But … don’t overdo it, as the sugar content is not at a normal level for the birds, let alone the artificial coloring.

Oh … and it looks like grape jelly is the #1 jelly of choice to feed. However, try other fruit jellies. You may find that another flavor will also attract lots of birds. I mean … what’s wrong with trying flavors like raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, or currant?

Note: Many experts will argue that feeding grape jelly is a bad thing to do. And I can see why, because as I stated above, grape jelly and its sugar content isn’t “normal” for wild birds. However, I don’t see why a little jelly fed occasionally, especially in the beginning stages of trying to attract more feathered friends onto your property, is a horribly bad thing to do.

Here’s a link to an informative post on “Laura’s Birding Blog” discussing this very topic on the pros and cons of feeding jelly.


Feeding fruit is probably the more commonly suggested method to help attract wild birds. But, with the rising cost of fruit these days, especially for those of us that don’t live in regions close to fruit growers and orchards, many of us may not be able to keep a constant supply of fresh orange halves, pomegranate halves or apple halves available for the birds. But perhaps occasionally you can try putting out fruit. All types of birds enjoy fruit. Even grapes will be eaten.

You can secure the fruit halves or sections to the side of a tree by pounding a long nail into the tree, and then pushing the fruit onto the nail (yes, you may have to wiggle it a bit to get it past the nail head); or place it in a suet basket. There are other methods, like piercing the fruit with a dowel and then hanging the dowel, which has a rope loop secured to both ends of the dowel.

As long as you can secure the fruit in some way to help the birds get to the fleshy part, and to keep it from getting carried away by other predators … you’ll be good to go.


Whether picked fresh berries, or store bought ones – even those that are a bit shriveled up but not bad enough to throw out – will be appreciated by your feathered friends and will of course help attract more to your property.

Berries that wild birds seem to love are: wild grapes, pokeberries, sassafras berries, and even sumac berries. If you’re like me and really don’t have access to wild berries, then use store-bought ones.

Store-bought berries to feed can be: blueberries, raspberries, and cherries.

Mama Mia! Try Pasta!

“Pasta?” you say. “You’ve got to be kidding!”

Nope, I’m not. I’ve read about many people feeding SMALL AMOUNTS of plain boiled pasta with success. Many birds, from titmice to woodpeckers will chow down on pasta. If you decide to give this food a try, I will suggest trying to offer it during drier weather.

Please …. just don’t include the spaghetti sauce and meatballs! πŸ˜›


The calcium in eggshells is beneficial for female birds during the nesting season. But your wild bird friends will also benefit from the extra calciuim during the winter months. So save up some eggshells – make sure to rinse them out in the sink first – and then place them in a shallow pan. Bake the eggshells in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes. This “purifying” method eliminates any chance that your wild birds will be exposed to harmful bacteria that could be passed on from domestic chickens.

You can place crushed eggshells in a small dish, scattered on your garden soil, or even sprinkled on your sidewalk or patio. You’ll soon find that the birds will be happily nibbling up the eggshell pieces.

My Favorite Peanut Butter Suet Recipe

Before I end this post, I thought I’d place a link to my easy homemade bird suet recipe. I’ve received some nice feedback via private email from people who have tried it and are now getting more birds in their yards. Plus, they remark how easy it is to make and how much cheaper it is than buying store bought.

I hope you give one or more of these foods a try, and that you’re able to attract more wild birds in no time.


  1. hey, ive heard birds like whole skinned bananna’s, is this true and will it do any harm if i put a skinned bananna in my window feeder? i would quite like to try it but im hesitant in case its not good for them or something, and will they eat raisins on their own? thanks πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Zoe:
    I highly doubt a tasty banana will be harmful to birds. I’d say just give it a try and see what happens!

    But a thought does come to mind that it might also attract ants, especially since you’ve mentioned it’s a window feeder. The ants can easily climb up and into the feeder. So keep an eye on the banana and see if ants start taking over.

    And yes … raisins are a treat to many birds. They peck them out of suet cakes, so I see no reason that they’d ignore them in a little pile on your window sill, as example.

    Happy birding! πŸ™‚


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