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Is Bird Food A Choking Risk To Fledglings?

Is Bird Food A Choking Risk To Fledglings?

With the ever-growing population of birds, specifically off the back of the spring months. It’s important to know what to feed fledglings. Many adult birds enjoy a variety of bird food, however, a lot of seeds and nuts can cause a choking hazard to their young.

This blog will inform you on what bird food causes a choking risk to fledglings and what bird food to avoid.

What Is A Fledging?

fledgling is a baby bird that is capable of moving around on its own. In this stage of life, a bird can venture out of the nest and start to learn how to survive on its own. 

This stage is vital to protect when it comes to feeding. In their ‘learning’ stage of life, fledglings don’t necessarily know what food is safe for them or not, as they are used to their parents delivering the food. These birds are not yet adults and will look notably different to their parents, so it is often easy to identify fledglings.

Unfortunately, this time in their lives is crucial for their survival; they are finding things out for themselves. Our garden owners need to make it a little easier for them and avoid foods that will be a choking hazard to them.

a blue tit feeding its chick

What To Feed Fledglings

A fledgling is encouraged to find food itself, with a parent bird onlooking from afar. There are several ways in which we can help to reduce the choking risk.

Keep Food Hydrated

Dry food could be a risk to fledglings, with hard pieces getting stuck. It is advised that you soak dry foods to make them moist and easier to swallow for a fledgling.


Fledglings need a good source of protein and energy to grow. Luckily, a lot of protein-rich foods are soft (or can be made soft). Fruitlive mealworms and suet can be broken down into small chunks so that the fledglings receive the correct nutrients without the risk of choking.

Noticeably, parents reserve wild and natural food for their young. So it is common that those types of bird food will be a favourite amongst fledglings finding their own. Live worms that birds may find in the wild are a good way to ease fledglings into bird food from your garden.

You can read more about what baby birds eat here.

What Foods Are A Choking Hazard?

For fledglings, anything small and soft is the way forward. When putting out bird food for fledglings, avoid larger seeds and peanuts. These are too big for a fledgling and will likely risk choking. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean, don’t put out these types of food for other birds, but just be sure, to put them in a wire bird feeder so a fledgling cannot bite off more than it can chew (quite literally!)

When To Feed Fledglings

Fledglings make it simple for us to know when they want to feed. In true baby-style, they often appear to ‘beg’ for food. Calling for food, fluttering their wings and opening their beaks wide are all signs that a fledgling is hungry!

Fledglings are in the most important stage of a bird’s life, they need to quickly become strong. Many breeds of fledglings eat every 20 minutes for the majority of the day! Begging fledglings probably aren’t abandoned, their parents are no doubt nearby. It’s important not to touch a fledgling but helping them out with their feed is ideal for their growth.

Keeping a constant flow of fledgling safe food in your garden is a brilliant way to ensure your local visitors don’t go hungry.

baby birds in nest

Get In Touch

Need some advice on fledglings? Let us know!

Call us on 01778 342665

Alternatively, email

5th Jul 2023 Rachel Weinhold

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