It is definitely that time of year when the fruit bowls that sit on our tables or counters are overfilled. We tend to throw out a lot of fruit. However, we can actually use some of this fruit for the wild birds in our yards.
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You can toss some grapes out to the yard for them, however, then you risk other animals getting them that likely should not have access to them. The safest bet would be to either make some feeding stations that are out of the access of squirrels and other animals or use bird feeders to place some of the safe fruits into them for the birds to be able to eat.
Not all of us are accustomed to seeing birds eat grapes though. Do we know that they can eat the berries off trees and such, but are grapes part of a safe fruit list for the birds too?
Even those grapes that fell to the bottom of the fruit bowl have plenty of nutrients and vitamins left for the birds. Grapes, after all, do turn into raisins, so their time is not done when they wilt. There are other fruits that this is acceptable for also when it comes to birds.
Preparation for Birds
Do we just toss those luscious round grapes into the feeders or the feeding stations? Can we toss them into the yard whole and expect the birds to be able to deal with them? Honestly, grapes are not normally meant to be placed into a feeder, so maybe into a feeding station with an open top so the bird can get to them.
As for tossing them out the door into the yard, well that is perfectly okay for some animals. Birds, however, it would be best if you at least slice the grape into halves. You do not have to make bird-size bites, just in half and the bird will be able to get to the meat of the fruit easily enough.
Cutting them would depend on the size of birds you normally have. Granted there are some smaller birds who would definitely benefit from having the grapes chopped into finer and smaller sizes. Ultimately, half is adequate for all birds. They can use their beaks to peck at the soft meaty parts of the fruit and the larger birds can carry off half a grape at a time.
You need to be aware that just like many other foods, grapes may also have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals to place resistance to insects and other pests that may nibble or take a bite, then leave.
The grapes should be thoroughly washed not only for human consumption but also for the birds to eat. These chemicals in the pesticides are just as, if not more dangerous for the birds as they are to us.
Seeds and Peeling
For some fruits, such as apples, the seeds can be toxic, when eaten in a large enough quantity. This is not a concern when it comes to grape seeds or the peeling of the grape. If you think about it, grape seeds are eaten many mornings by humans and not even thought about. With this, I am referring to Grape Nuts cereal.
Both the grape seeds and the peeling are nutritious and a good source of fibre for the birds. What may possibly concern you in regards to the skins of the grapes is worrying about if the bird will choke on them. It is not likely, but if it helps you feel better, chop the grapes into smaller pieces.
There are some veterinarians and Scientists that will swear that the seeds need to be removed from the grapes as they can be a choking hazard for the birds. Obviously, as already stated, the seeds do contain nutrients that the birds need to have also. If you are concerned about a bird choking on the seeds, consider purchasing the seedless variety or remove the seeds from the grapes after you slice them in half.
The nutrients that are found within the grapes are healthy for a bird no matter what time of year it is. The summer and fall give birds the opportunities to get their fill of berries at any time. Think of grapes as a treat for the wild birds outside your windows.
During the winter and spring, birds would be grateful to have grapes placed into feeding stations so that they can enjoy them. In many parts of the country, birds do not have total access to grapes as they do in other areas.
The Vitamin C that is in grapes will help the birds to fight off illness or infection just as it does for humans. Vitamin K helps prevent bone issues and also maintains healthy blood. Vitamin K is also beneficial for the birds and the density of their egg shells.
Watch the Sugar
Grapes are exactly like candy is to humans. The high fructose or sugar content makes them very sweet and that is what birds love. The high sugar level can certainly be dangerous for a bird, just as it is for a human.
Consider only feeding grapes to your domesticated bird as a treat. For the wild birds, it would be difficult to limit how much each wild bird outside has consumed of the grapes that you have sliced and put outside for them. If this is a concern also, as to how much sugar you are feeding the wild birds, try to avoid feeding the wild birds too many grapes too often. Again, if you have a lot of birds that gather around, it is impossible to say how much each bird may or may not have consumed.
It is no question that the birds like high sugar content and this amount of sugar are sure to give your bird a quick burst of energy, but that is also the exact reason why the bird should not have too high of a number of grapes when you do feed it to them.
All birds love grapes, they are, after all, another berry. Your domesticated bird will absolutely love them also. However, it is best to watch how much you feed the domesticated bird. Outdoors, it is impossible to determine how many birds ate how much of the grapes. Indoors, you have complete control over this.
One piece of serious advice. It would be best if you actually peeled the grape and mashed it to mix in with the bird food you give your bird. If you place just the grape in the cage, the bird will be more than happy to eat that and leave the food. This defeats the purpose of added nutrition or even as a treat.
As a treat, you can give your bird one or two grapes total a week, but do not give them more than one day at a time. Leave a day or two in between when you give them a treat. A small bird should only have one grape that has been cut up into smaller pieces for them. You can give them up to two or three times a week, but it is not wise to do more than that. Again, cut them small and mix in with the bird seed or mash some grape and mix it with a little bird seed.
Even though it is a bird, they will see it as a treat and then stop eating their food. When any bird, wild or domesticated, stops eating their food and eats strictly grapes, it can lead to Vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Bird seed and other bird foods are designed and prepared to give the bird the right amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that they need.
For a larger bird, you can feed them up to two grapes at a time. Follow the same logic, however. Cut the grapes up and mix them in with the food or mash them with some bird seed. This will help prevent them from not eating their food and focusing on just the grapes. They too, should also not have grapes every single day, not even two days in a row.
It may be possible that your bird is somehow in an area where they have access to wild grapes. If this is the case, remove the bird from the area, take a picture of the grape the bird was eating and hopefully someone you know will be able to identify the grape or those directly around the grape.
You should also contact your veterinarian just in case you are unsure of the type of grape, whether it is wild or not. The vet will be able to answer questions and give you advice on what you can possibly do. He or she may also be able to identify the picture and give you a definitive answer.
So, ultimately the answer is yes, feel free to give your wild birds some grapes that you have cut. You can toss them on the ground or you can place them in a bird feeding station. The domesticated birds would do best with just a smaller amount of grapes mixed in with the food.