Bananas are the new food of choice for hungry birds trying to warm up during the winter freeze.
Moorhens, ducks and skylarks have been pecking their way through leftover bunches of the fruit at the RSPB wildlife reserve and discovery park in Saltholme on Teesside.
Val Osborne, head of wildlife inquiries, said: “Although bananas aren’t one of the traditional fruits fed to birds, they hit the spot quickly and help birds warm up soon after eating them.”
The fruit, donated by a Tesco store in Stockton-on-Tees, proved just as popular as more traditional bird feeds such as seeds and bread.
Ms Osborne added: “Give it a go in your own gardens – but in moderation.
“Birds aren’t quite the dustbins people think they are and chances are if you put too many out at once in a small space they will go a bit too rotten for them.”
The RSPB advises feeding birds all kinds of leftover kitchen scraps including grated cheese, porridge oats and cooked rice, pasta and potatoes.
Apples, pears and dried fruits are also good supplementary food even if bruised or part-rotten.