can birds eat buttered popcorn

You may not have thought of scattering kernels in your yard as a nutritious treat for your feathered visitors, but popcorn can be a popular and safe food for many bird species, including Jays, Woodpeckers and Pigeons.

But you may be wondering if all types of popcorn are safe for birds, or should any varieties be avoided? We’ll be taking a closer look at the best and healthiest ways of serving popcorn to birds, so read on to discover more.

Popped and unpopped kernels are both eaten by a wide variety of birds and can be offered as an occasional, supplementary food. Smaller birds with less powerful beaks may cope better with pre-soaked kernels, although Jays and Woodpeckers will have no problem at all cracking hard kernels open.

Popped kernels offer the same nutritional benefits as unpopped corn. They contain fiber and are low in sugar. Some points to keep in mind are that store-bought pre-cooked popcorn and microwavable sachets are to be avoided, as they are high in salt, added sugar, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, butter and other preservatives that are not part of a bird’s natural diet and should not ever be fed.

To learn more about the all-important dos and don’ts for providing popcorn for your backyard birds to enjoy, just keep reading.

Pictured: An Eurasian Jay. Popped and unpopped kernels are both eaten by a wide variety of birds and can be offered as an occasional, supplementary food

Nutritional Value of Popcorn for Birds

There’s worse things to feed birds than popcorn, in my opinion. Popcorn is a decent option for a treat every now and then because it is low in sugar and relatively high in fiber. Popcorn contains small amounts of protein and minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium in addition to carbohydrates, which birds need as a source of energy.

Popcorn ought to be served only as a supplemental snack, with the majority of the food being more nutrient-dense nuts, seeds, and grains. This is because popcorn lacks essential proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients needed in a healthy avian diet.

Pictured: Pigeons feeding on corn kernels

Plain Popcorn: A Healthy Treat

Plain popcorn is safe for birds. It is also low in calories.

  • Popcorn has good fiber.
  • It also has some vitamins they need.

Birds should not eat buttered popcorn. Or popcorn with salt and other toppings.

can birds eat buttered popcorn

How to Safely Prepare Popcorn for Birds

Both popped and unpopped popcorn kernels can be fed to birds without sacrificing nutritional value. Bigger and stronger-billed birds, like pigeons, woodpeckers, crows, and jays, will relish the challenge of breaking open a tough kernel. Unopened corn kernels are frequently included in commercial seed mixes with other seeds and grains, so many birds may already be accustomed to eating them.

Unpopped kernels are infamously difficult to crack; smaller birds may find them too difficult to crack open, and if swallowed whole, they may present a choking hazard or digestive issue. Consequently, it’s usually recommended to soak kernels in water to soften them before giving them to birds, though larger birds with stronger bills can easily crack open unpopped kernels.

Numerous bird species will also readily consume popcorn, which can be served whole or crumbled. However, it should never be fried in butter or oil or have any sugar, salt, or flavoring added to it.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that popcorn should only be given to birds on rare occasions as a treat. Birds may reject healthier options and lose out on essential nutrients if they grow overly dependent on less nutrient-dense but potentially more tasty foods.

By consuming an abundance of what is essentially bird junk food, they run the risk of becoming too full to consume anything nourishing. Popcorn is therefore acceptable, but it should only be served occasionally and not as a main course.

Pictured: White-crowned Sparrowmand a Chipping Sparrow. Unopened corn kernels are a common ingredient in commercial seed mixes, along with other grains and seeds.

FAQ

Can birds and squirrels eat buttered popcorn?

You won’t want to feed the birds any popcorn that has been cooked in oil or flavored with butter and/or salt. Many birds will flock to anywhere where they know there is a food supply.

Can animals eat buttered popcorn?

“When feeding popcorn to your pet, it’s important that the popcorn is plain and preferably air popped. Popcorn that is covered in butter (even fake butter), salt, and seasonings can cause stomach issues for your furry friends,” Dr. Dimock says.

Is buttered toast OK for birds?

In fact, it’s best to avoid giving birds bread with butter or any spreads because they can be harmful to them. Plain, whole-grain bread is a safer option if you want to feed birds, but it’s important not to offer them too much as it lacks essential nutrients they need in their diet.

Can birds eat peanut butter?

Peanut butter is a good high-protein food for birds, and they can eat any of the same types humans do. If you’re buying it specifically for birds, look for natural or organic types with the fewest additives. Try offering crunchy peanut butter for an extra nutty treat.