Home | Bird diet | Gardening for Pet Birds – Growing Your Own Food and Fodder – Part 2

Gardening for Pet Birds – Growing Your Own Food and Fodder – Part 2

Blue Orchid BeeAlong with providing your pets with a variety of nutritious foods, “bird conscious” gardening will ensure that you are visited by an assortment of interesting native birds and insects.  Wild-caught insects are also a valuable food item for many cage birds, and may be easily collected with the Zoo Med Bug Napper.

Please see Part I  of this article for general bird-gardening information.

Fruit Trees and Bushes

Trees and bushes can provide limbs for gnawing, leaves for shredding and tasty fruits, flowers and buds.  The branches of those listed here are also useful as cage perches, and will provide your pet with a variety of grip widths and surfaces.

Canaries and other finches and most softbills will also enjoy poking though foliage for caterpillars, beetles and other small insects.

Nearly all of the fruits that we consume can be used as bird food.  Those listed below grow well in temperate climates.  If you live in a warm locale, you can include mango, banana, papaya and other tropical varieties as well.

Apple and Crab Apple





Most berries, including North American natives (elderberry and juniper)


Flowers and buds are relished by many birds – lorikeets and honey creepers will try to extract the nectar, and others will consume flowers outright, search among them for insects, or just enjoy tearing them up.  Some hearty favorites include:









Seeds, Grains and Grasses

Don’t forget your seed-eaters…in addition to nutritious seeds, the following provide leaves that make excellent foraging toys and nesting material:


Canary Grass



Most Native Grasses

Some of my earliest bird-gardens sprang up quite accidentally – the result of bird seed that spilled while I was cleaning bird and small animal cages, and wild bird seed missed by visitors to my feeders.  The seeds used in such foods are apparently quite hearty, as I gave the plants no care at all but had quite an assortment sprouting throughout the summer.  Try planting some of our wild bird seed and see what happens.

Toxic Plants

A number of common household and garden plants are potentially toxic, and should not be fed to birds.  Please see my article on Toxic Plants for further information.

Further Reading

You can learn more about gardening for pet and wild birds at the following informative blog:


Orchard bee photo referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Artic.

Dogwood photo referenced from Wikipedia.


About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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