Can Birds Eat Popcorn? Popped or Unpopped? Read This!

Birds like to indulge in various kinds of food, but can popcorn serve as a treat for them? Keep on reading to find out.

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David A. Swanson

June 13, 2021

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What’s This Post About?

When it comes to humans, popcorn is a popular food. It is a low-calorie alternative that is high in fiber, making it a nutritious and delightful snack.

We’ve seen that people frequently feed birds bread, rice, biscuits, and so on. Yes, the birds will consume these foods without hesitation, but are these our only options?

Continue reading to find out whether it is safe for birds to consume popcorn.

Birds can eat both popped and unpopped popcorn. To soften the tough hulls of the unpopped kernels, boil them first. Birds are drawn to the crisp texture of popcorns. The nourishment offered might be an excellent addition to the bird’s diet. Popcorns, however, should only be served as a treat.

a crow eating popcorn

How Often Should Birds Eat Popcorn?

Popcorn has its nutritional benefits, but certain conditions should be followed when popcorn is fed to a bird.

Microwaved popcorn should not be fed to a bird. This is purely because they contain fats and salts that may have a harmful impact on the bird’s neurological system.

Popcorns fed to birds must be free of any type of salt, cheese, or butter.

Birds can be given popcorn as a snack or a treat. This does not mean that the birds should only eat popcorn; the majority of their diet should include organic veggies, cooked whole grains, and raw or sprouted seeds.

A yellowish brown bird

Corn is commonly found in many bird mixes because it contains antioxidants, iron, whole grain, and fiber, all of which provide a healthy dosage of nutrition to the birds.

Popped corn, on the other hand, contains the same amount of nourishment as unpopped corn.

However, popcorn should only be fed in little amounts and on infrequent occasions, or else the bird may get emaciated.

This being said, you must take caution while picking the type of popcorn to serve the birds, as it should be flavorless.


Microwaved popcorns consist of chemicals, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and large amounts of sodium that may damage a bird's health.

How To Make Popcorn Balls for The Birds?

A simple and easy step-by-step process that will guide you to create the apt popcorn ball for the birds.


Popcorn balls are easy and simple to make. The popcorns need to be popped in a non-stick pan, top it with some honey or nut butter, let the mixture cool, and then mold the mixture into a ball shape. These balls can then be hung for the birds to feed on.


Unpopped Popcorn Kernels 56 grams
Bird Seeds 128 grams
Vegetable Oil 33.3 ml
Honey 113 grams
Almond or Unsalted Peanut Butter 80 grams
Non-stick Cooking Spray 1 Bottle

Let’s go step-by-step, mixing all the ingredients to form the perfect popcorn balls.

  • Preparing The Popcorn
  1. Adjust the stovetop to medium heat.

  2. Add vegetable oil to the pot along with the unpopped popcorn kernels. Cover it with the lid.

  3. When the popping sound slows down, remove the lid and the pot from the heat.


Do not add any salt, butter, or any kind of flavoring to the popcorn.

  • Combining The Ingredients
  1. Get a large bowl

  2. Add the popcorn and bird seeds to the bowl

  3. Mix it all


You can also add dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries, or cherries to this mixture.

  • Addition Of Wet Ingredients
  1. Heat the honey in a pan and stir it till it gets warm.

  2. Add in the unsalted peanut or almond butter into the warm honey.

  3. Pour this wet mixture into the popcorn mix.


Use a wooden spoon to avoid the ingredients from sticking.

  • Molding The Popcorn into Balls
  1. Let the mixture cool down for approximately 10 minutes.

  2. Spray your hand with a non-stick cooking spray.

  3. Take a small portion of the popcorn mix and roll it into a ball shape using your palms.


Store the popcorn balls in an airtight container to keep them fresh for 3 to 4 days.

What To Consider When Feeding Birds Popcorn?

Bird size and type should be considered along with other factors while hanging popcorn balls in your yard.

A seagull eating

Unpopped corn seeds may not be recommended for all types of birds. Birds with hard and thick bills such as jays, woodpeckers, cardinals may prefer consuming hard kernels, while small birds may find it difficult to digest the hard and large kernels.

Popcorn as a feed can attract a variety of birds to your backyard. Most bird feeds also consist of corns to serve as it’s an enjoyable treat for the birds.

When creating popcorn balls, make sure the right amount of ingredients is being used. Excessive amounts of ingredients may result in health problems for the birds.

Fun Fact

Some birds are picky eaters and may eat according to what they like. These kinds of birds may avoid consuming popcorns.

What Are Some Benefits of Feeding Popcorn to Birds?

Popcorn may be a source of nutrients to the birds.

A bird in nature

Corn, popped or unpopped, is a whole grain that is low in sugar and high in fiber. Popcorn is a nutritious food for both birds and humans because it contains a lot of iron and has no digestible carbs.

If you look closely, you’ll see that certain bird mixtures contain maize kernels. This is because most birds enjoy eating popcorn as a treat.

These kernels are not only beneficial to their robust beaks, but they also provide additional nutritional benefits.

When hanging out your bird feeders in your yard, try to fill them with food that consists of different types of seeds and fruits. It will help to attract all kinds of birds to your yard.

Lyric 2647414 Supreme Wild Bird Mix

Nutritional mix with 7 different seeds, 3 varieties of nuts, sunflower kernels and cracked corn

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Iron is an essential nutrient found in popcorns. Iron helps to balance the oxygens levels in the bloodstream of the birds.

It helps in efficient hemoglobin production and helps the birds avoid anemia or any other iron deficiency disease.


A high level of fiber content ensures a healthy digestive system for the birds. The food management system works smoothly, proving to be a health benefit for them.


Carbohydrates are a source of energy for birds. Plain popcorns without any flavoring consist of an ample amount of carbohydrates that the birds can consume.


Popcorns consist of calcium content which is crucial for healthy bone formation. It will help maintain a healthy reproductive system and aid any kind of blood clotting, promoting healthy feather formations.

What Foods Should Be Kept Away from The Birds?

There are certain food items that the birds should avoid consuming, or it may lead to health concerns.

A bird perched on a tree

Bread, pesticides, old nectar, rotten seeds, and other products should not be consumed by the birds because they may have a negative impact on their health. As a bird enthusiast, you may want to be aware of the food that is healthy for birds and the food that is not.

Birds who do not consume enough food may develop ailments such as malnutrition, obesity, a slow response rate, a lack of adaptation, and so on. This is why it is critical to feed the birds the best possible diet.


A significant amount of bread is not recommended for the birds because it is classified as an unhealthy food with a low nutritional value. You can make a healthy choice by serving tiny amounts of whole grain bread on rare occasions.


Make a sandwich with peanut butter, seeds, dry fruits, and whole-grain bread for the birds. This will be a healthy snack for them as compared to plain bread.


Keep any fruit produced by pesticide-treated plants at a safe distance. Small amounts of pesticides may be poisonous to birds. Fruits containing pesticides may cause breeding issues in birds, which can then be passed on to the babies.


Wash the fruits thoroughly before offering them to the birds.


All kinds of junk foods such as chips, pretzels, or cheese puffs are bad for the birds. They are mostly treated with harmful chemicals and deliver very little nutritional value to the birds.


Instead of chips, unsalted popcorns can be provided as a treat or a snack.

What Food Can You Feed the Birds With?

Here are some healthier options to add to your bird feeder.

A variety of berries

We already discussed the types of food that should be kept away from the birds. Now we’ll talk about the many types of food you may give to the birds.

These meal options are all high in nutrition and may help the birds maintain a balanced diet.

There are numerous alternatives that can be considered as healthier options for the birds.

Natural foods are the best because they do not include preservatives and are not contaminated in any way. This will provide the birds with a safer and healthier diet.

Here are some food items that you can add to your bird feeder:

  • Mangoes
  • Berries
  • Peas
  • Oranges without seeds
  • Watermelon without seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Grapes sliced
  • Apples without seeds
  • Pomegranate

The above-mentioned are just a few of the available options. If you want to know more about the fruits that can be given to birds, you can read this post.

The 10 Proven Fruits to Feed and Attract Backyard Birds

Are you a bird lover but struggle with what fruits to feed backyard birds? Well keep on reading and you learn our tips to attract them.

Keep Reading!

All of us must feed the correct diet to the birds that visit our backyards. We should supply organic, clean, and natural food so that it does not hurt the birds and protects the ecology as a whole.

This post is all about popcorns and how they can be provided as a treat to the birds.

The production of popcorn balls is discussed, which can be hanged for the birds. You can also study and differentiate between the right and wrong foods for the birds.

If you are a bird lover and wish to know which bird sings the cheeseburger song, read this post.

The Cute Bird that Sings "Cheeseburger". Link to Video!

Wondering if your ears are ringing or did you just hear something chirp cheeseburger amidst the trees. Don’t worry; it’s the black-capped chickadee!

David A. Swanson Picture

By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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David A. Swanson Picture

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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