Can Birds Eat Popcorn? – Healthy Pet Bird Diet Advice & Tips

Can Birds Eat Popcorn
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In summary: Yes, birds can eat plain, air-popped popcorn without any additional seasonings or fats as an occasional treat. However, it should make up no more than 10% of their daily meal intake.

As a person who keeps birds as pets, you frequently ponder what foods are appropriate for our feathery companions. Popcorn is a popular example of a snack that may come to mind. Yet, can birds eat popcorn? In this blog post, Canvas Personalized will discuss the pros and cons of feeding birds popcorn and other snack options that birds could enjoy. Discuss the issue of whether or not popcorn is a safe snack for your feathered friends!

Can Birds Eat Popcorn?

1. Can Birds Eat Popcorn Kernels?

Unpopped popcorn kernels present a fun challenge for many birds. Strong-beaked birds like jays, woodpeckers, and pigeons go crazy over these kernels. The kernels may be too tough for the tiny birds, too. To make these corns easier to chew, boil them for 5-10 minutes. For the safety of your feathered companions, wait until they have cooled down after being boiled before offering them a taste.

Feed Unpopped Popcorn To Pet Birds
Can pet birds eat popcorn kernels (Image: Linda Hall/Shutterstock)

2. Can Birds Eat Salted Popcorn?

In most cases, birds shouldn’t eat salted popcorn. Birds can develop major health problems from ingesting too much salt, including dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance. They shouldn’t be given any salted popcorn, as even a trace amount of salt might be dangerous.

3. Can Birds Eat Popcorn With Butter?

Buttered popcorn is not something you should give to birds. The artificial ingredients of buttered or caramelized popcorn make it inappropriate for a bird’s diet. Plain popcorn can occasionally be a healthy snack for birds because it has some nutrients and is low in calories. Yet, the addition of butter flavorings can be dangerous to birds. Due to its high-fat content, butter can worsen birds’ health and cause obesity and other problems.

Feeding Popcorn With Butter To Birds
Can birds eat caramel popcorn (Image: wdwnt)

4. Can Birds Eat Microwave Popcorn?

Birds should never be given microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn contains oil, a source of volatile hydrocarbons that can harm birds, especially when newly prepared. And since the fat and salt in microwaved popcorn might make birds sick, it’s best not to feed it to them. Instead of using a microwave to make popcorn for your bird, use an air popper and leave the salt out.

Feeding Popcorn To Birds
Can your birds eat popped popcorn (Image: eatlittlebird)

5. Can Birds Eat Popcorn Balls?

With correct preparation, popcorn balls can be a healthy treat for your bird. However, these treats should never be a bird’s main food source. To do this, you need to use natural ingredients and a lot of fruits and seeds that birds can eat. You should use a small percentage of popcorn and a large percentage of seeds.

Birds will still enthusiastically stop by your feeder, even if you don’t offer them any popcorn. The occasional treats must not contain honey or chocolate. Birds should never be given chocolate or honey because both are potentially poisonous. While making popcorn balls for backyard birds, avoid using anything sticky, such as butter or spray.

Feed Backyard Birds Popcorn In Bird Feeder
Popcorn Balls have essential nutrients (Image: happybirding)

Here is how to make popcorn for birds:


  • 7-8 cups of plain popcorn that you popped in an air popper. Remember, don’t add salt, butter, or oil!
  • A cup or so of birdseed and dried fruit like blueberries, cranberries, apricots, or cherries)
  • Peanut butter, unsalted, about 4 teaspoons (make sure there are no other things in the peanut butter, like sugar or preservatives)
  • Some cooking spray (just spray this on your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to them when you roll the balls)

How to:

  • First, use an air popper to pop the plain popcorn.
  • Warming the peanut butter a little bit will make it easier to mix.
  • Mix the popcorn and peanut butter together in a big bowl.
  • Mix any other ingredients, like the birdseed and dried fruit, well with a wooden spoon.
  • Let the mixture cool down a bit so it’s easier to roll into balls.
  • Coat your hands with nonstick cooking spray and roll the mixture into balls approximately the size of tennis balls. Be sure to squeeze the balls so the seeds, popcorn, and dried fruit adhere.
  • Tie a piece of thread around each ball and hang them from the branches of trees in your backyard.
  • Popcorn balls may be stored for around three to four days if they are kept in an airtight container once they have been formed. Your sealed container should be kept in a cold, dry place.
  • Around 12 popcorn balls may be made using this recipe.

When you’ve hung your popcorn balls outside, you can relax and watch the birds feast on their tasty snack.

6. Can Birds Eat Corn?

Birds can eat corn, yes. Corn is a favorite food of many birds, both in the wild and in captivity. Pigeons, doves, quails, ducks, and geese are all common birds that like to eat corn. Also, songbirds like cardinals and finches may eat small amounts of chopped or cracked corn kernels if they find them in their natural environment or backyard feeders.

Is It Safe To Feed Birds Popcorn?

Birds can enjoy popcorn as a tasty treat, but only if it is properly made. Always ensure the popcorn has cooled completely before giving it to the bird, and never use butter or oil when popping it. Unpopped kernels, which might cause choking if swallowed, should also be removed.

Popcorn hulls are not easily digested and may lead to gastrointestinal problems or obstructions if consumed excessively. You should feed your bird plain, air-popped popcorn without extra seasonings or fats.

Finally, to prevent stomach problems caused by too much fat or salt, popcorn should make up no more than 10% of your bird’s daily meal intake. Following these basic rules, your feathery companion can enjoy popcorn without becoming sick.

Birds Enjoy Eating Popcorn
Do birds eat popcorn (Image: Quora)

The Nutritional Values of Popcorn for Birds

We’ve already said that birds in your backyard can get some nutrition from popcorn. These things are:

  • Iron helps balance the oxygen in the bloodstream and keeps the birds from getting anemia.
  • Fiber is good for a healthy digestive system.
  • Carbohydrates for energy.
  • Calcium helps keep bones and the reproductive system healthy.

How Much Popcorn Can You Feed Birds In A Serving?

Several species of birds have varying popcorn consumption each meal. Smaller birds, like finches and parakeets, usually only eat a few kernels, while macaws and cockatoos can consume much more.

Popcorn isn’t something birds would normally consume. Thus, it should only be given to your bird as a fun treat sometimes. Birds can get stomach issues from eating too much popcorn, so giving them a few kernels at a time is better. If you’re unsure how much your bird can eat, try giving it only one or two kernels at a time and see how it reacts.

Wild Birds Eat Popcorn
Feed popcorn to birds (Image: flickr/tambako)

Other Snacks for Birds to Eat Instead of Popcorn

A balanced diet consisting solely of natural foods is optimal for bird health. Treating birds to a snack of mixed seeds, such as sunflower, safflower, millet, and thistle, is perfectly safe. Whether you buy it premade from the shop or mix it yourself, a balanced seed mix is a safe bet.

Birds love sunflower seeds, despite the mess they can make when they crack them open to get at the seeds within. Thistles attract finches, whereas millet attracts sparrows, doves, and cardinals. If you want to attract ground-feeding birds like quails to your feeders, you can distribute millet under them if you don’t mind the seed falling to the ground.

Certain birds enjoy eating fruit as well. Oranges attract orioles and several species of woodpeckers. Dried fruits like raisins and unsalted peanuts are popular bird treats.

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Do you know the answer to the question “Can birds eat popcorn?” Canvas Personalized provides information that may prove useful in caring for your feathered friend. We also have articles on caring for dogs, cats, horses, and rabbits so you can be a good pet owner. Please take the time to read them; you’ll find a wealth of helpful information there!