Adding fruit to the feeder
Yes, many of our native birds find fruit very a-peel-ing. However you shouldn't just feed any old fruit. For the best results, check out these fruit-feeding seeds of wisdom...
With high levels of energy, nutrients and water content, fruit is an excellent food to keep hungry birds flying, foraging and flocking. However, when serving your backyard visitors with fruity snacks, it is important to consider the types of fruit you are feeding and how you’re feeding them.
Most fruits will attract birds to your garden and provide them with great supplementary nutrients. This is especially important in winter when this type of high-energy food is not readily available in the wild.
Cut pieces of apple, citrus fruit, pear, stone fruit or even banana will attract natives such as korimako, tūī and tauhou. Blackbirds and starlings may also come for this fare - but if there’s a tūī around, they’re likely to get chased away!
Vegetables and fruit from the nightshade family (peppers, potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes) should be kept on the human plate: these are highly toxic to birds. Similarly, all seeds and pips should be removed from any fruit feed as many of these contain cyanide in trace amounts, which can be deadly to a small bird.
Kiwifruit germinates easily when the seeds are carried by birds. Keep the kiwis in the kitchen fruit basket to avoid another invasive species in our native bush.
Also, while bruised fruit is fine for our feathered friends, leave the rotten pieces for the compost bin.
How to feed?
Birds are habitual creatures, meaning they may be more likely to take up your fruit offering if it is given at the same time each day. Don’t forget to remove any uneaten pieces from your feeder, as the smell may attract pests – and birds are unlikely to nibble on something that has been sitting too long in the elements.
Placing the fruit on a bird feeding table or in a fruit feeder is best. If the fruit is thrown on the ground or falls off your feeder, your birds may become prey - and you will also encourage pesky rodents to your yard.
To secure pieces of fruit to a feeding platform, hammer some lead-free nails into the board and push the fruit through. Or try a wild bird feeder made for holding fruit. The Truffle Feeder is good for keeping fruit secure, as is The Chirpeteria. The Little Bird Feeder makes sure the smaller birds can safely get a taste too!
If you have fruit trees you may decide to occasionally share the fare with the lucky local birds. If so, keep the birds away from the fruit on the tree with bird safe netting or deterrents. Then pick any fallen or bruised fruit and place it on your feeder. This way the fallen fruit won’t end up being a furry creature’s dinner and the birds stay safe.