can birds get salmonella from peanut butter

All About Birds is a free resource

Available for everyone, funded by donors like you

American Kestrel by Blair Dudeck / Macaulay Library Search for species name or keywords

Or Browse Bird Guide by Family or Shape

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin

I called Cornell Lab of Ornithology for good measure and they said that if you do not know where the peanut butter ingredients came from in your flavored suet cake, dont feed it to birds. They did offer that since consumer grade peanut butter is currently not on the recall list, making your own peanut butter suet using ingredients you have on hand should be safe.

At a blog readers request, I have tried contacting Scotts Wild Bird Food about their suet and they have not answered me at this time, so I cannot say whether or not their suet is free of the recalled industrial peanut butter (this does not mean its not safe, but at the moment, it does not have the guarantee the other suet manufacturers have). I shook my head at their website. If you go to their web page for North American bird feeding, they show European goldfinches eating their food. Too bad we dont get those in the US. If a company doesnt even know basic North American feeder birds, how we trust that they know anything about feeding birds?

I disagree and asked Cornell about this matter. At the moment, there is so little information about the salmonella involved the outbreak we cannot say whether or not it will harm birds and its best to err on the side of caution. Here is some information from Dr. David Bonter, the project leader of our Project FeederWatch on salmonella and birds.

Okay, I have communicated with three different suet manufacturers regarding their nut flavored suets and the salmonella peanut butter recall. Currently, peanut butter produced from Peanut Corporation of America is at issue for salmonella contamination, not commercial brands that many of us have in our cabinets. Here are what three manufacturers told me:

“A bacteria from the genus Salmonella is the cause of salmonellosis.” Although the symptoms are not always evident, it is a common cause of mortality in feeder birds, especially in siskins, goldfinches, and redpolls. A sick bird may have swollen eyelids, feces on its vent, and a thin, fluffed-up appearance. Infected birds are often lethargic and easy to approach. Even though they may not exhibit any symptoms, some infected birds are disease carriers that can infect other birds.


Is peanut butter harmful to birds?

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.

Can birds get Salmonella from food?

Many infected animals, particularly reptiles, carry the bacteria without showing any clinical signs. In wildlife, the most well-known syndrome occurs in songbirds during the winter months (songbird fever) when the bacteria are shed through sharing of birdfeeders.

Can Salmonella grow in peanut butter?

Post-process contamination of peanut butter and spreads with Salmonella may to result in survival in these products for the duration of their shelf life at 5 degrees C and possibly 21 degrees C, depending on the formulation.

Can you use peanut butter to make a bird feeder?

A cardboard tube spread thickly with peanut butter If your peanut butter is thick and a little tricky to spread, you may have to get your fingers messy and use them too. Make sure the peanut butter is spread thickly to cover the cardboard tube. Otherwise, the bird seed will not stick well.