Backyard Chirper

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Bird Myths: Bread is a healthy snack for birds

A popular pasttime involves taking a few slices of bread to the park and tossing crumbs to the birds. While birds might seem to go wild over the bits, bread may actually be harmful to them.

Here are some things you should be aware of before heading to the park with a loaf of bread.

1. Bread is unhealthy

Bread offers absolutely no nutritional value to birds and can actually be fattening. If fed to ducks for example, this could be particularly troublesome. They may become too heavy to fly and not be able to evade predators. Some articles have pointed out that giving bread to a duck is comparable to giving junk food to a person.

2. Pests are also attracted to bread crumbs

Just like birds, other animals such as rats, mice, insects and other predators are also attracted to bread crumbs on the ground. Sometimes if the bread is not eaten immediately by the birds, pests will be drawn to the area, making it more dangerous for the birds.

3. Feeding bread to birds may help foster diseases

As explained in this article, carbohydrate-rich diets cause more excrement, which in turn harbors bacteria capable of harmful diseases. Mold and bacteria can also grow on old, uneaten bread.

4. It’s easy and healthier to feed birds other food

If you’d still like to go to the park to feed the ducks, we still encourage you to do so. Giving a hand to wild animals is important, but it’s also important to help out wisely. Before going to the park, buy some wild bird food, which is high in nutrients and healthy for birds. Items around the house are also better for birds than bread. For example, ducks love cracked corn, vegetable trimmings and fresh peas.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. “Bread offers absolutely no nutritional value to birds and can actually be fattening.”

    If there was no nutritional value, it wouldn’t be fattening. Duh. Fuck off with your politically correct “new science”.

  2. […] about this case because I think birds deserve to be given food, but as I wrote about a while back, there’s a myth that bread is a healthy snack for birds. Giving bread to ducks is like giving junk food to humans because there is no nutritional value and […]

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