Birds are commonly seen as pets and in the wild, and many people want to feed them items that they have in their house. Popcorn is one of those items. But can birds eat popcorn, and will it harm them?
Birds, both domesticated and wild, can eat popcorn and popcorn kernels. However, the popcorn that is fed to birds must be completely plain with no butter, salt, sugar, or oil. Microwave popcorn should not be fed to birds because there are many additives in it that harm birds.
Now that you know that birds can eat popcorn kernels and popcorn, you may be wondering why the popcorn has to be plain and what you can do to make it easier for your birds to eat popcorn kernels.
Can Pet Birds Eat Popcorn?
Pet birds can eat popcorn as a snack. They can also eat popcorn kernels, although they may be slightly hard for them to eat because of how tough the hulls are.
If you want to feed your bird popcorn kernels, soak or boil the popcorn kernels in water for a few minutes. This will soften the hulls and make it easier for your bird to eat the popcorn.
Do not add anything to the water that you boil or soak the popcorn kernels in, not even salt or sugar.
If you decide to give your pet bird some popcorn, make sure that it does not have any butter, salt, sugar, or any other additives that are not safe for birds to eat. Also, make sure that the popcorn that you feed your bird was not popped in any oil. It can be popped in coconut oil, but make sure it is only a small amount.
Birds like coconut oil, especially when it is on popcorn, but they should only have it in small amounts. The coconut oil may make your bird enjoy the popcorn more than it normally would because of the flavor it adds.
However, other oils may harm your bird if they eat too much of it, so it is better to avoid putting most oils on popcorn you intend to feed to your bird.
Do not feed your bird microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn often has a lot of butter and salt already on it, even if it says plain or lightly-buttered popcorn.
Butter and salt are not good for birds and they should not eat any of it, so it is better if you pop the popcorn for your bird yourself instead of in a microwave popcorn bag.
Most birds do enjoy eating popcorn because it is a crunchy and very filling snack. However, not all birds enjoy eating popcorn, so don’t be surprised if your bird has tried popcorn and then doesn’t eat it again.
Every bird has certain flavors that they prefer their foods to have.
Can Wild Birds Eat Popcorn?
Wild birds, just like pet birds, can eat popcorn. Most of the time, they enjoy it and will come back for more if they see that you still have some and you have given them a piece in the past.
However, you may not want to feed the birds that are in the park or other public areas because they will begin to pester you for more, which can get annoying very quickly.
If you drop some popcorn while you are near wild birds and they eat it, don’t worry. It won’t harm them if they eat a few pieces of salted and buttered popcorn.
Can Pet and Wild Birds Eat Popcorn Kernels?
Both pet and wild birds can both eat popcorn kernels as long as nothing has been added to them, including butter and salt. Popcorn kernels are a type of seed, and birds enjoy eating many different types of seeds.
Although the husks of popcorn kernels are harder than most other seeds, birds do enjoy eating popcorn kernels most of the time.
If you are out and about eating popcorn and you finish it, but there are a few kernels left over in the bag that you do not want to go to waste, then feel free to give them to the birds that are nearby.
You can also give the popcorn kernels to your pet bird if this happens while you are at home.
However, before you feed the birds popcorn kernels that are left over from a bag of popcorn, wipe off the oil and butter, as well as the salt, with a paper towel or napkin.
Make sure all of the oil, butter, and salt are gone before you give the kernels to the birds because these add-ins are not good for birds to eat. These outer materials should come off pretty easily when you use a paper towel or napkin to wipe the kernels.
After that, feel free to give all of the leftover kernels to the birds, especially if there are a lot of them in the area.
Can I Put Popcorn and Kernels in a Bird Feeder?
You can definitely add popcorn kernels to your bird feeder. Popcorn kernels are great to add to a bird feeder if you do not have any other things to put inside it.
If you only have a small amount of the seeds that you normally add to the feeder, mix in some of the popcorn kernels that you have in your house.
Popcorn kernels are great to put into a bird feeder as a last-minute alternative to other nuts and seeds that birds enjoy. However, the kernels are not very nutritious, so they should not be the only food item that is available in the bird feeder if you can avoid it.
Popcorn and popcorn kernels are like candy to birds; not very nutritious, but they are slightly sweet and are a nice treat to eat occasionally.
If you do put popcorn kernels inside your bird feeder, keep in mind that you will definitely attract squirrels to the bird feeder as well.
Although this is a common issue that people who have exterior bird feeders face, the popcorn kernels will attract even more squirrels because they smell different than many other seeds and nuts. If squirrels get a whiff, they will consider them to be a nice treat.
Although popcorn kernels are not the healthiest or best thing to put into a bird feeder, you can do it and the birds will definitely enjoy it.
Is Popcorn Healthy for Birds to Eat?
Popcorn and popcorn kernels are not very healthy for birds to eat because these foods do not have a lot of nutritional value for birds (or humans for that matter). Popcorn and popcorn kernels are great as an occasional snack or treat if you don’t have anything else to give your bird at the time.
Popcorn that does not have any oil, butter, or salt on it is healthier for birds to eat than popcorn that has been cooked with oil. However, it’s possible that these plain kernels may seem unappealing to your bird or a wild bird because it doesn’t really smell like anything to them.
If you give your bird some popcorn to snack on, they may not eat very much at one time because of how large the pieces of popcorn are. Bird stomachs are not very large, so they can’t eat as much as we typically expect them to at a given time.
However, the larger the bird, the larger the stomach, and the more popcorn they will eat when you give it to them.
If you give popcorn to your bird after you have given them other foods, they probably will not eat very much of it because they have just eaten.
It’s also likely that they won’t eat the popcorn after they have been fed because the popcorn and the popcorn kernels do not smell like the other foods that they typically enjoy, so it isn’t as appealing as other foods may be to them.
Can Popcorn Harm Birds Over Time?
Popcorn that has butter, oil, and salt can harm birds over time, even if there is only a small amount of each ingredient on the popcorn or the popcorn kernels that you give your bird to eat. It is one of the reasons why popcorn should not be regularly given to birds, even wild birds.
Popcorn and popcorn kernels don’t have a lot of nutrients, so when birds eat popcorn and popcorn kernels they are filling up their stomachs with non-nutritional foods. These may give them a bit of short-term energy, but it will not help them thrive and survive in the end.
If popcorn and popcorn kernels are regularly given to birds, it can cause their wings to become deformed and grow improperly, which will increase the likelihood that the bird will die at a young age. In general, too much popcorn can decrease the quality of life for a wild bird (Source).
The likelihood that popcorn and popcorn kernels will cause a pet bird’s wings to become deformed is less than in a wild bird because many foods and snacks that are given to pet birds have a lot of nutrients and are formulated to be given specifically to birds rather than humans.
This means that pet birds have different sources of nutrients than wild birds do, and pet birds often get a more balanced diet than wild birds.
Because the pet birds are given more nutrients and have many different sources of food, popcorn and popcorn kernels are not as likely to harm the pet birds. It should still only be given to them occasionally though because birds should never have too much of one thing.
Popcorn that has salt on it should not be given to pets or wild birds. Large amounts of salt can be toxic to birds, although they can eat a tiny amount of it and will not be affected by it.
However, if you regularly give them foods with salt on them, like salty popcorn, they will suffer and become sick because of it.
Popcorn that has butter and most types of oil on it can be harmful to birds because their bodies have trouble processing the fats in them.
They can handle small amounts of butter and oil, and definitely enjoy eating foods that have coconut oil on them, but they will become sick if they are regularly given foods with oil and butter on them.
However, coconut oil is an exception to the rule. Coconut oil is very healthy for birds to eat on their foods because it contains a lot of fatty acids that help birds, especially pet birds, to stay healthy.
Although you only need a little bit of coconut oil at a time, you can put it on almost anything that you give your bird to eat (Source).
If you feed your bird popcorn or popcorn kernels that have salt and butter on them, make sure they drink a lot of water afterward so their bodies can process the salt and the fats in the butter.
Also, make sure that they eat other things that are very healthy before or after they eat the popcorn or the popcorn kernels, even if they only ate one or two pieces of the popcorn.
The healthier foods that are made for them to eat will give them the nutrients that the popcorn did not give them.
What Can I Give My Bird as a Snack Instead of Popcorn?
Some birds do not like eating popcorn or popcorn kernels, which means that you will have to find another food item to give your bird as a treat. Luckily, there are many things that you can give your bird as a snack that is not popcorn or popcorn kernels.
What to Give Your Bird as a Snack:
- Bird Treats
- Seedless Grapes
- Baby Carrots
- Seed Cookies
- Sunflower Seeds
- Apple Slices
- Peanuts (unsalted)
There are many things other than popcorn and popcorn kernels that you can give your pet bird as a snack that they will enjoy immensely. Most of these snacks that were previously listed have a lot of nutrients in them that will help keep your bird healthy and strong, but will also make your bird feel like they are special!
Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn
Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details: