For generations, bread has been the food to help people connect with wild birds. Tossing their crusts, crumbs and stale remnants in the yard, people young and old watched with delight as birds eagerly snapped them up.

But lots of online and social media sources say feeding bread to birds is actually unhealthy. Is this true? Or can you still leave out the crusts from your picnic with peace of mind?

First, consider the diet of a wild bird. It depends on the species, but songbirds eat many things: insects, seeds, grains, nuts, worms, grubs, berries. And yes, bread is made from wheat, but sources like Bird Watcher’s Digest say feeding bread is a no-no, because bread provides no real nutritional value to our feathered friends.

The most telling anti-bread evidence can be found on lists of recommended foods to give to birds (like the kind you see on Project FeederWatch). Scan the columns of birds and the lists of things you should feed them, and something is glaringly absent: bread.

Bottom line, bread was created for human consumption, not for birds. If it's not something birds can find in nature, don't offer it to them.

Instead of bread, feed the birds grains, seeds, nuts and fruit. These things should be free of salt, seasoning and sweeteners. Lyric Wild Bird Food packs each bag with high-quality ingredients, so you’ll know you’re helping birds meet their nutrition and energy needs the natural way.