If you like to provide nutritious foods to the wild birds that visit your yard, you might look through your cupboards to see what you have on hand that might be suitable for these feathered visitors. Therefore, you might wonder whether birds can eat raisins.
You’ll be happy to learn that birds can eat raisins and these small dried fruits can be very beneficial. Especially in winter time when other food sources can be a little scarce. Raisins are dried grapes and many birds enjoy a variety of fruits along with their regular diet of seeds, nuts and insects.
Why Raisins Are Beneficial For Birds?
Raisins contain a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals. In addition, they’re high in sugar content. This can be very useful during the colder weather because it gives the birds plenty of much-needed energy. This additional energy will help these birds to regulate and maintain their body heat.
One thing to remember though, is that an excess of raisins could cause digestive problems for birds. But, if you’ve been feeding the birds for years, you’ll be aware that they need a balanced diet that includes all sorts of different seeds, nuts and fruits and not to give them too much of any one type of treat.
How To Feed Raisins To Backyard Birds
You can give your visiting birds raisins in a variety of ways.
- Just pop them out onto a bird feeding table as they are but make sure that you select natural raisins that don’t have any other additives. Those that you find in the baking aisle of the grocery store are ideal.
- Soak the raisins in hot water overnight to make them softer for smaller birds. You should do this especially in hot weather so that the raisins are easier for the birds to eat.
- Mix the raisins with some crushed nuts or mealworms to attract fussier eaters.
- If you make your own suet cake, you can add some raisins to this as well.
What Types Of Birds Love To Eat Raisins?
You’ll find that many of your backyard bird visitors will absolutely love raisins when you put them out. The birds that like to eat fruits as part of their normal diet are called frugivorous birds. Commonly, these types of birds will also feast on insects as a way to get protein into their diets.
Some bird species are also referred to as baccivorous. This means that they mainly eat berries. Because many types of berries are only available naturally in summer and fall, these birds will eat a variety of grubs and insects during the remainder of the year.
In addition, there are granivorous birds that are mainly grain or seed eaters such as finches. These bird species will also enjoy some fruit in their diet.
It might also surprise you to learn that mainly insectivorous birds like flycatchers will enjoy an addition of fruits or berries in their diet.
Of course, many of our backyard bird visitors are likely to be classed as omnivorous. This means that they eat a wide variety of foods including insects, seeds, fruit and berries.
Those species most fond of eating raisins include:
- Cedar waxwings
- Scarlet tanagers
- Eastern bluebird
- Northern cardinal
- Gray catbird
- Brown thrasher
In addition, birds like crows, starlings and warblers are also quite fond of raisins. Even pet birds, such as parrots, will happily devour the occasional raisin or two.
How To Make Suet Cake Including Raisins
Here’s a quick and easy way that you can make your own suet cake with raisins to feed your backyard birds.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Raw beef fat from the butcher that will have to be rendered, or lard
- Peanut butter to bind the cake together
- Rolled oats
- Sunflower seeds
Here’s how to render the beef fat:
- Chop it into small pieces
- Heat in a saucepan until it is completely melted
- Let the liquid cool slightly and then strain it twice to remove any contaminants
If you’re using lard, this doesn’t have to be rendered.
Here’s how to make the suet cake
- Place the rendered beef fat or lard into a saucepan along with the peanut butter
- Melt these together and then let them cool slightly
- Mix all the ingredients together to make a stiff mixture
- Let the mixture cool before pressing it into a mold such as an empty tuna can
- Place in the refrigerator to set before putting it out for the birds
Alternatively, you can put the mixture into a large baking tin or other container and then place this in the refrigerator to set. Once fully set, you can cut the mixture into cubes or blocks before placing it out for the birds.
You can add all sorts of ingredients into your suet cake to give your backyard birds some variety. These include unsalted nuts like raw peanuts, other dried fruits such as sultanas and conventional bird seed mixes.
However, there are some things that you should never add to suet cake because these are not healthy for the birds. These include:
- Cooked leftovers
- Bacon fat
- Salted nuts of any kind.
If you’re looking to vary the diet that you feed to your backyard birds, you can safely add raisins to this. Make sure that you don’t overdo it though and offer plenty of other foods such as seeds, nuts, fruits and berries as well.
It’s fine to put out the raisins as they are but it’s even better if you soak them in hot water overnight first. This will make it easier for the birds, especially small ones, to feast on the raisins. You can even mix the raisins in with other treats such as mealworms and crushed nuts or add them to your homemade suet cake.