Can Birds Eat Popcorn? A Comprehensive Guide

“Can birds eat popcorn?” is a question that many bird owners and bird enthusiasts often ask.

Popcorn, both popped and unpopped, can be a nutritious treat for many birds like Jays, Woodpeckers, and Pigeons, offering fiber.

However, it doesn’t contain enough of the vital proteins, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients required in a healthy avian diet.

Therefore, it is recommended that popcorn is only offered as a supplementary snack with more nutritious nuts, seeds, and grains forming the majority of food on offer.

Birds That Can Eat Popcorn

Common birds that will readily feast on unpopped popcorn kernels include:

Crows, Jays, Woodpeckers, Pigeons, Quail, Turkeys, and Gulls.

Soaked, softened kernels are safer for smaller birds, including American Goldfinches, Northern Cardinals.

Canaries and pet finches are both keen popcorn fans but cope better with smaller pieces.

Exotic birds known to enjoy popcorn as a treat include Parakeets, Cockatiels, and Parrots.

Even pet birds like Kiko, a 7-month-old male cockatiel, have shown a fondness for popcorn.

Preparing Popcorn for Birds

Before you head straight into your backyard with your leftover popcorn from a night at the movies, please make sure that what you are offering is safe and suitable and won’t cause them any harm.

Popcorn should never be fried in butter or oil, or have any sugar, salt, or flavoring added.

If you want to provide popcorn as an occasional snack for a pet bird or backyard birds, use unsalted, unbuttered popcorn.

You can either provide unpopped kernels or air-popped popcorn.

If you’re feeding raw, unpopped kernels, some birds might not like how hard the hulls are.

To make them more palatable, soak or boil kernels before leaving them out for birds.

Risks of Birds Eating Popcorn

While popcorn is generally safe as an occasional treat for birds, there are exceptions.

The main risks associated with popcorn involve the added ingredients in microwaveable packets.

Excessive salt, sweeteners, and other additives aren’t healthy for birds.

Stick to plain popcorn with no added ingredients.

One of the main concerns when feeding birds popcorn kernels is the potential choking hazard they pose. Popcorn kernels are small and hard, and birds may not be able to break them down properly before swallowing.

This increases the risk of the kernels getting lodged in their throat, leading to choking.

Another risk associated with feeding birds popcorn kernels is the possibility of an impacted crop. The crop is a part of a bird’s digestive system that stores food temporarily.

When birds consume large quantities of dry and hard foods like popcorn kernels, it can cause the crop to become impacted, meaning it is unable to pass the food through the digestive system properly.

This can lead to discomfort, malnutrition, and even death if not addressed promptly.

Can Birds Eat Popped Popcorn?

Ever wondered if our feathered friends can munch on some popped popcorn?

Well, they sure can, but there’s a catch. It’s gotta be plain, air-popped popcorn without any of the tasty extras we humans love, like salt, butter, or other flavorings.

These extras aren’t good for birds and can cause health issues.

What Animals Can Eat Popped Popcorn?

Not just birds, but other critters like foxes, deer, and even badgers can enjoy popped popcorn as a treat.

Remember, moderation is key, and it’s not a substitute for their regular diet.

Can My Parrot Eat Popcorn?

Yes, your parrot can join in on the popcorn party, as long as it’s plain and air-popped.

Avoid microwave popcorn and any added flavors to keep it safe for your parrot

Is Popcorn Safe for Pigeons?

Pigeons can peck at popcorn too, but again, it’s gotta be the plain stuff. No salt, no butter, just simple, air-popped goodness

Can Birds Eat Rice?

Birds can eat rice, both cooked and uncooked. The myth that uncooked rice expands in birds’ stomachs and harms them is just that – a myth.

Is it Safe to String Popcorn for Birds?

Stringing popcorn for birds is a classic holiday activity. It’s safe as long as the popcorn is plain and air-popped.

Just make sure it doesn’t get wet and spoil, which could be harmful.

Why Do Birds Like Popcorn?

Birds are attracted to the texture and potential nutritional value of popcorn. It’s a change from their usual diet and can be a fun treat for them.

Can Birds Eat Uncooked Rice?

Yes, birds can eat uncooked rice without any issues. It’s a safe snack for them.

Can Birds Eat Cheese?

Birds can eat cheese in small amounts. It’s a source of protein and fat, but it should be given sparingly due to its high-fat content and potential to spoil.

How Do You Make Bird Safe Popcorn?

To make bird-safe popcorn, pop the kernels without any oil, butter, or salt. Let it cool down before serving it to your birds.

You can also mix in some birdseed or chopped fruits for an extra treat.

FAQs About Can Birds Eat Popcorn?

Is popcorn good for birds?

While popcorn is safe for birds, it is lacking any real vitamins or nutrients.

Therefore, it’s safe, but not great as their main food source.

Can birds eat microwaved popcorn?

No, birds should never be given microwaved popcorn. These varieties are extremely high in fat and salt, which can be harmful to your pet’s health.

Can birds eat popcorn kernels?

Most birds should not be fed popcorn kernels, as they could choke on them or face other health risks.

Can birds eat buttered popcorn?

No, birds should not eat buttered popcorn.

The butter and salt content in this type of popcorn can be harmful to birds.

In conclusion, while popcorn can be a fun and enjoyable treat for birds, it should be given in moderation and prepared properly to ensure it is safe for them to consume.

Always remember to prioritize the health and safety of the birds when offering them any kind of food.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.