How to lay on a Christmas dinner for the birds

Okay, we know birds don't have a clue about Christmas. But neither does the dog in the sparkly antlers. The truth is the bleak mid winter is a tough time of year for many of our winged garden visitors as food is so scarce. But by putting out some of those Christmas leftovers you can still spread a little festive cheer to your garden birds.

A pair of Waxwings perched on a snow frosted branch.

How to set the perfect bird Christmas table

Here are nine top tips on what and what not to leave out for garden birds this Christmas. 

A lone little Wren perched between frosty vegetation.


No to the grease

It's true birds need high-energy snacks in winter, but cooled fats and meat juices can easily smear onto birds' feathers and interfere with their waterproofing and insulation. Birds need to keep their feathers clean and dry to survive but a layer of oil would make this impossible. So leave the grease to the re-runs on the TV.

Yes to the crumbs of Christmas

Many of your kitchen scraps and Christmas leftovers make ideal snacks for birds visiting your garden and can help them get the calories needed to pull through. Birds will happily polish off leftover, alcohol-free, Christmas cake (stale cake is best) or crumbs of biscuit from the bottom of the tin and mince pie. Pastry, whether cooked or uncooked, is excellent especially if it has been made with real fats.

Partnering with

The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International.More