Popcorn is a popular snack for humans, but have you ever wondered if it’s safe for birds and squirrels to eat? In this article, we’ll explore whether feeding unpopped popcorn to wild animals is a good idea or not.

We’ll examine the natural dietary preferences of birds and squirrels and explore whether popcorn fits into their dietary needs. Additionally, we’ll consider the safety aspects of feeding unpopped popcorn to wild animals, including any potential choking hazards or digestive issues.

Key Takeaways:

  • Feeding unpopped popcorn to birds and squirrels may not be safe due to potential choking hazards and digestive issues.
  • Birds and squirrels have specific dietary preferences, and their nutritional needs should be considered when feeding them.
  • There are alternative snacks that are more suitable for birds and squirrels, ensuring their nutritional needs are met without any potential harm.

Diet Preferences of Birds and Squirrels

Birds and squirrels have specific dietary preferences that contribute to their overall health and well-being. While they are both considered omnivores, meaning they consume both plants and animals, their preferred foods can vary depending on the species and the region they inhabit.

Squirrels typically have a diet that consists of nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Some species may also consume insects and small animals, such as frogs and insects, depending on the availability of food in their environment. Similarly, birds consume a variety of food, including seeds, insects, fruits, and nectar, depending on the species. For example, finches prefer seeds, while hummingbirds prefer nectar.

While popcorn can be a tasty snack for humans, it is not a natural food for birds and squirrels, and it should not be their primary diet source. In fact, relying on popcorn as a primary food source can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health problems, such as obesity in squirrels. Therefore, it is important to provide them with a diverse range of appropriate food.

Feeding Popcorn to Birds and Squirrels

If you’re considering feeding popcorn to birds and squirrels, it’s important to know whether it’s safe for them. While popcorn may seem like a harmless snack, there are potential risks that you should be aware of.

One of the main concerns is the risk of choking. Unpopped popcorn kernels can be a choking hazard for birds and squirrels, as their small size and hard texture can easily get lodged in their throats. Additionally, popped popcorn can also pose a risk if it’s not fully chewed before swallowing.

Another potential issue is digestive discomfort. Popcorn is not a natural food for birds and squirrels, and their digestive systems may struggle to break it down. This can lead to stomach upset, bloating, and other digestive problems.

Lastly, it’s important to consider the overall nutritional value of popcorn for birds and squirrels. While popcorn may provide some calories, it doesn’t offer many of the key nutrients that these animals need to thrive.

If you’re still interested in feeding popcorn to birds and squirrels, it’s important to take precautions to minimize any potential risks. Make sure to only offer fully popped kernels, and avoid overfeeding. It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of fresh water to help aid in digestion.

Overall, while popcorn may seem like a fun snack to offer birds and squirrels, it’s generally not recommended due to the potential risks and lack of nutritional value. Instead, consider offering more natural snacks, such as seeds, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, to help ensure that your backyard visitors stay healthy and happy.

Health Effects of Feeding Popcorn to Birds and Squirrels

While popcorn is a favorite snack of humans, it may not be the best option for wild animals like birds and squirrels. Feeding them large quantities of popcorn on a regular basis can lead to health problems.

Firstly, popcorn is not a natural food for these animals. Their digestive systems are adapted to handle a specific diet that meets their nutritional needs. Popcorn does not have the necessary nutrients that birds and squirrels need to maintain good health.

Furthermore, giving birds and squirrels unpopped popcorn can be dangerous. The hard kernels can pose a choking hazard or lead to digestive problems if they are ingested. Small animals like birds and squirrels have a difficult time chewing hard substances, and popcorn can easily get stuck in their throats or digestive tracts.

Another health concern is the high levels of salt and butter often found in popcorn. These additives can lead to dehydration and other health problems for birds and squirrels. Salt is not a natural part of their diet, and their bodies are not equipped to handle large amounts of it.

Instead of feeding birds and squirrels popcorn, it is best to provide them with natural foods that meet their dietary needs. Fruits like apples, berries, and grapes are excellent choices, as well as nuts and seeds. You can also set out a bird feeder with high-quality seed blends designed specifically for wild birds.

By offering natural foods, you can help ensure that birds and squirrels stay healthy and thrive in their natural habitats.


After careful consideration, it is not recommended to feed birds and squirrels unpopped popcorn. While they may consume it, there are several potential risks to their health, including choking hazards and digestive issues.

It is important to consider the natural diet preferences of these animals and provide suitable snacks that meet their nutritional needs without causing harm. Some healthy and safe snack options for birds and squirrels include sunflower seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, and unsalted nuts.


Feeding wild animals is a privilege that comes with great responsibility. Providing suitable snacks not only ensures their health and well-being but also allows us to appreciate them in their natural habitat.


Q: Can birds and squirrels eat unpopped popcorn?

A: While birds and squirrels have different dietary preferences, they can safely consume unpopped popcorn in moderation. However, it is important to consider their overall nutritional needs and the potential health effects of feeding them popcorn.

Q: What are the diet preferences of birds and squirrels?

A: Birds and squirrels have natural diets that consist of a variety of foods such as seeds, nuts, fruits, insects, and berries. Popcorn is not a typical part of their diet, but it can be offered as an occasional treat.

Q: Is it safe to give birds and squirrels unpopped popcorn?

A: Feeding birds and squirrels unpopped popcorn can be safe as long as it is done in moderation. However, there are potential risks to consider, such as choking hazards from large pieces or digestive issues if consumed in excess.

Q: What are the potential health effects of feeding popcorn to birds and squirrels?

A: While popcorn is not harmful to birds and squirrels in small amounts, it may lack the necessary nutritional benefits and can be high in calories. It is important to provide them with a balanced diet and offer alternative snacks that are more beneficial for their overall health.

Q: Are there suitable snacks for birds and squirrels?

A: Yes, there are several suitable snacks for birds and squirrels that cater to their dietary needs. Some examples include seeds, nuts, fruits, and berries. These options provide them with the necessary nutrients while minimizing potential health risks.

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