RSPB warning over feeding the birds your Christmas dinner

Christmas turkey prepared for dinner

Christmas turkey prepared for dinner - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The RSPB is urging people to put their leftover turkey in the bin – and not in the garden this Christmas.

The charity is warning that meat fat is dangerous for birds and urged people to avoid leaving cooked turkey fat out on the bird tables because, unlike fats such as lard and suet, it can have deadly consequences.

The fat remains soft even when cooled and it could easily smear onto birds' feathers and ruin their water-proofing and insulating qualities.

Birds must keep their feathers clean and dry if they are to survive the cold winter weather, but a layer of grease would make it virtually impossible for them to do so.

The charity suggests that bird seed table mix and suet balls are a great alternative.

Ian Hayward, RSPB wildlife advisor, said: 'Many people wrongly believe that leaving cooked turkey fat outside is beneficial for birds, but in fact it can have disastrous effects for our feathered friends. 'Only pure fats such as lard and suet should be used to make homemade fat balls which will give birds' the energy and nutrients to survive the cold winter months.

'Putting out some of the recommended festive treats will encourage birds such as blackbirds, robins and wrens into the garden just in time for the Big Garden Birdwatch in January.'

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For more information on what to feed your garden birds visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes