Most songbirds that come to your yard generally eat either seeds, fruits, or insects in the wild. And if you’re a bird enthusiast who has set up a feeder in their yard, I’m sure you’re feeding them exactly these things. But have you ever thought about spicing their diet up a bit? Just like we want to try something different to excite our palettes once in a while, it wouldn’t hurt the birds either, right?
However, you need to be much more careful with the birds than you are with yourself. Be it a pet or a wild bird, treating them safely would require a little bit of ground research beforehand. What about popcorn? Is it a safe treat for birdies?
Can birds eat popcorn? Yes, as long as it is unsalted and unflavored, popcorn is both a safe and healthy treat for the birds. It contains healthy carbs, fibers, iron, and calcium, all of which can benefit their health. Both unpopped and popped corn is equally enjoyable for the birds, so you can go with either alternative. Just make sure you practice moderation when feeding them popcorn.
In this article, I will attempt to answer all popcorn-related queries that you might have about your birds. Stick with me until the end to learn more.
Do birds enjoy eating popcorn?
Whenever you think of treating a pet with food, what’s the first question that comes to your mind? It’s usually whether or not they will like what you’re going to feed them. And you’re right to think that. If someone doesn’t enjoy their treat, it beats the whole point of the treat.
So, do birds enjoy eating popcorn? Well, if the words of pet parents and bird enthusiasts are any indications, birds love eating popcorns. All kinds of birds, from chickens to parrots, seem to enjoy eating popcorn a great deal.
So, if you’re looking to feed your pet or backyard birdies something they will enjoy, popcorn is one of your best choices.
Can birds eat unpopped corn?
Yes. Almost all birds that enjoy popcorn are seen to like corn whether or not it’s popped. So, if you’re in a rush and have no time to pop the popcorns, you can certainly serve them the unpopped ones. In fact, you will notice that some birds even prefer unpopped corn to popped ones.
However, it is important to note that unpopped corn kernels are quite tough and might be difficult for some birds to swallow, particularly the smaller birds.
Therefore, to help them eat these corns more easily, you can boil them in hot water for about 5-10 minutes. Once boiled, you should let them cool down before serving it to your feathered friends; otherwise, they might end up burning the insides of their mouth.
Can birds eat popped corn?
Just like unpopped corn is a fun treat for birds, so is the popped corn or popcorn. In comparison to unpopped corn, popcorn might seem like a more processed food. But as far as human processed foods go, popcorn is pretty basic.
With that being said, you must remember to keep the amount of popcorn in your bird’s diet strictly moderate. As tasty as these treats are, they cannot, and shouldn’t, replace their main diet.
In addition to this, there are a few more things that you need to keep in mind while preparing popcorn for your birds, but we’ll get to it later.
Is popcorn healthy for birds?
Now that we’ve already established that birds eat popcorn, what about its effects on their health? You must understand that birds are small creatures and, thus, more fragile than us. If they eat anything wrong, even in a small quantity, it could drastically impact their health.
So, is popcorn something that can add to their health? That’s what I’m going to talk about in this section. Before we move ahead, let’s get a better idea of the nutritional contents of popcorn:
|Total fat||1.3 g|
|Saturated fat||0.2 g|
|Sodium, Na||2 mg|
|Potassium, K||93.3 mg|
|Calcium, Ca||2 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.9 mg|
|Dietary fibers||4.1 g|
Serving size: 1 ounce (28 grams)
Another important thing that you must know is that due to corn’s nutritious richness, a variety of birdseed mixes contain about 30-40% of corn in them. Now, let’s learn more about its nutritious richness:
When you give the table a thorough glance, you will notice that the number that stands out is the number of carbs. According to the table, 28 grams of popcorn contains about 21 grams of carbs.
As you might already know, carbs are the primary energy source for birds, particularly wild ones. It is because these birds have a highly active lifestyle and need more carbs to keep them functioning efficiently throughout the day.
Fibers are important nutrients that enable the smooth functioning of the digestive tracts of birds, just as they do for us. And the amount of fibers in popcorn is sufficient for the birdies.
Antioxidants are an essential part of a bird’s nutrition. They strengthen their immune system and help them fight against all kinds of diseases and infections. Popcorn is full of antioxidants.
Hemoglobin is a component that helps to transport the oxygen in our body. And since iron is responsible for the production of hemoglobin in birds, just as it is for us. Therefore, the iron content of popcorn will benefit the birds’ health.
Calcium plays a crucial part in birds’ diets. It not only strengthens their bones but also promotes their feather health. 28 grams of popcorn of 2 mg of calcium, which can benefit your feathered friends immensely.
Low sugar level and calorific count
As you might’ve noticed in the table above, the sugar content in popcorn is quite low. And as for the calories, compared to what birds need in a day, 110 kcal is an average amount. For the birds in your backyard, it means that they are not at the risk of becoming obese by eating popcorn.
If all these pointers are anything to consider, it means that popcorn will make a tasty and healthy snack for birds.
Risks involved with overfeeding popcorn to birds
Do you remember how we talked about feeding popcorn to birds in moderation earlier? Well, it was for a good reason. The thing is, the diet of average songbirds ranges between 15-40 grams in a day. Considering this, their snack intake shouldn’t cross more than 3-5 grams.
And since popcorn isn’t necessarily the only snack they eat, you should feed them these only once or twice a week. But the main question here is: what happens if you feed the birds popcorn in more than the recommended amount?
Well, as long as you’re feeding them plain, home-popped popcorn, it wouldn’t have any major negative impact on their health. What it will do is this: it will make them nutrient deficit in the long run. Wondering how? Let me explain it to you.
Birds have a limited diet, as we’ve already established. So, if they’re consuming more popcorn than they should, or on a daily basis, they’re likely to avoid eating nutrient-rich food since they’ll already be full. If this continues for a long time, not eating a balanced diet will ultimately make them nutrient deficient.
Now that you’re aware of it, I’m sure you’ll be more careful about feeding birds popcorns, or any other snack, in moderation.
Can birds eat corn from the cob?
While popcorn is a delicious snack, there’s nothing more fun than eating corn kernels directly from the cob, right? Have you ever wondered if the birds in your backyard feel the same way about it? Can they eat corn kernels directly from the cob?
Well, the answer to it depends on the species of birds we’re talking about. Generally, the songbirds that come to your yard, except corvids like jays and crows, aren’t well-equipped with eating corn from the cob. It will take them a long time to get the kernels out, during which a squirrel will probably snatch the cob away.
Therefore, for your backyard birds, cracked corn is a more convenient alternative. However, if we’re talking about pet birds, eating uncracked corn can be a fun activity that keeps them busy. So, go ahead by all means. In the wild, birds like geese, ducks, cranes, and corvids like uncracked corn more.
Feeding popcorn to birds: Tips and Tricks
Now that you’re ready to add corn to your bird food list, there are a couple of things that you should know beforehand. Take a look at these pointers:
1. Always buy unpopped corn for your birds and pop it by yourself at home. This is because the popped corn in the markets is meant for human consumption and, thus, might contain some spices or additives that aren’t healthy for the birds.
2. Always go for plain, unsalted popcorn for the birdies. Salt, or any other flavor, can have a negative impact on their health.
3. Microwaveable brands of popcorn usually contain spices or additives. Therefore, avoid buying those for your birds.
4. Always give the popcorn enough time to cool down before you serve it to your birds. Because of the excitement to eat these treats, the birds might not notice that they’re hot and burn their mouths.
Today, we’ve learned that popcorn is among the best treats you can offer to your birds. They’re low-sugar, low-calorie, and full of antioxidants and other nutrients that your feathered birds can benefit from.
All birds that come to your yard will enjoy both popped and unpopped corn alike. So, the next time you’re planning to feed them something interesting, choose popcorn.