Can Birds Eat Microwave Popcorn?

white popcorn in close up photography

Microwave popcorn is a popular snack that many people enjoy, but what about our feathered friends? Can birds eat microwave popcorn? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In this blog post, we’ll explore the potential risks and benefits of feeding microwave popcorn to birds.

The Risks of Feeding Birds Microwave Popcorn

While it may be tempting to toss your leftover bag of microwave popcorn out for the birds to feast on, there are several reasons why this isn’t a good idea. First and foremost, most types of microwave popcorn contain high amounts of salt and oil. These ingredients can be harmful to birds’ delicate digestive systems.

Additionally, many brands of microwave popcorn also contain artificial flavors and preservatives that could potentially harm or even kill birds if ingested in large enough quantities. These chemicals can disrupt a bird’s natural gut flora and lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting.

Another potential risk associated with feeding microwave popcorn to birds is the possibility of choking hazards. Popcorn kernels are small and hard, making them difficult for some bird species (particularly smaller ones) to swallow whole without risking choking or injury.

The Benefits of Feeding Birds Microwave Popcorn

Despite these potential risks, there are actually some benefits associated with feeding certain species of birds small amounts of plain (salt-free) microwave popcorn in moderation. For example:

– Some larger bird species such as crows or ravens have been known to enjoy snacking on plain popped corn.
– Popcorn can provide an additional source of carbohydrates and fiber for certain omnivorous bird species.
– The act of pecking at individual pieces can provide mental stimulation for bored captive pet parrots.

However, it’s important to note that any benefits derived from feeding microwaved popped corn must be weighed against the potential risks mentioned above.

Alternatives To Microwave Popcorn For Feeding Birds

If you’re looking for safe alternatives to feed your feathered friends, there are several options available. Some popular choices include:

– Unsweetened cereal (such as plain Cheerios)
– Fresh or dried fruits
– Cooked rice or pasta
– Crushed nuts (in moderation)

It’s always important to remember that any food you offer your birds should be offered in moderation and without added salt, sugar, or oil.


In conclusion, while it is possible for certain species of birds to safely consume small amounts of plain microwave popcorn in moderation, the risks associated with feeding this snack generally outweigh the potential benefits. Instead, try offering a variety of healthy alternatives to keep your feathered friends happy and well-fed!