As a backyard birdwatcher, you understand the joy of watching these feathered friends flutter around your yard. One of the best parts of bird watching is the opportunity to provide them with a bit of extra nourishment, especially during the colder winter months when food is scarce.
That’s why we always look for new and exciting food options for our feathered friends. And today, we’re excited to explore the question, Can birds eat almonds?
Can Birds Eat Almonds?
Yes, birds can eat almonds. Almonds are a great source of protein, fat, and other vitamins and minerals that can benefit birds. It is important to note that while almonds are a healthy snack for our feathered friends, they should still be fed as a treat and not used to replace their natural food sources
Just like peanuts, almonds are a staple food for humans, offering a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. So, it’s natural to wonder if these benefits extend to our feathered friends.
This post will dive into the topic and explore why these nuts are a safe and nutritious addition to your bird feeder.
Are Almonds Safe For Birds To Eat?
If you’re a fan of almond nuts, you might be excited to know that most birds are too! These nuts are safe for birds and make great, healthy, safe-to-eat treats for domesticated and wild birds.
Almonds are fantastic for wild birds, particularly in the fall and winter. Almonds have high-fat content and are a great source of protein, which provides birds with energy for the colder season.
Domesticated birds can benefit from eating almonds too. Many domestic birds are seed eaters, making almonds great for adding variety and “flavor” to their diets.
Almonds Provide Excellent Nutrition For Bird’s Health
Almonds provide birds with fiber, water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and essential vitamins and minerals.
One ounce of almonds (roughly 23 seeds) provides:
- Calories: 165
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fat: 14g (monounsaturated – 80%; polyunsaturated – 15%; saturated – 5%)
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 6g
Almonds are also a fantastic source of:
- Phytonutrients (flavonoids, phenolic acids, and plant sterols)
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
- Vitamin E
Are All Almonds Good For Birds?
Almonds provide excellent nutritional benefits for birds, but almond nuts should be offered to birds.
Sweet Almonds (Prunus dulcis) are a healthy source of many beneficial nutrients for birds. They are safe to digest, and they taste great!
However, while sweet almonds are nutritious snacks, bitter almonds are unsuitable for feeding birds.
Bitter Almonds contain amygdalin, a dangerous chemical that poisons those who consume it as it turns into hydrocyanic acid after the body metabolizes it.
Also, avoid offering almonds that have salt or other flavorings on them. Added salt and flavor can cause dehydration and digestive issues.
Do Birds Like Almonds?
Although almonds are not native to many parts of the world, most domesticated and wild birds will readily eat them.
These nuts are packed full of tasty oils (fatty acids) and proteins, making them appealing to most birds.
However, many birds can’t and won’t eat almonds that a still in the outer coating or hard shell.
Which Birds Like Almonds?
Almonds are a “fan-favorite” for most seed and nut-eating bird species.
Some birds that enjoy eating almonds include:
- American robin
- Blue tits
- Brown creepers
- Jays and Scrub-jays
- Wild turkey
How To Feed Almonds To Birds
Although almonds are native to Southwest Asia, they are widely cultivated for agriculture in the US. 80% of the world’s Almonds are grown in California!
In the wild, many birds cannot break through the fruit and hard coating covering an almond seed, which means that they only eat almonds when offered by us and when the shell has been removed.
Luckily for us, most, if not all, of the almonds you can buy from the store are ready to eat, which means they are also ready for your birds.
Here are a few ways you can feed almonds to your birds.
Whole Almonds at Your Bird Feeding Station
Adding whole raw almonds to bird feeders is the simplest and laziest way to feed almonds to your birds.
The most obvious and suitable feeder for this would be a peanut feeder, but a platform feeder will do just as well.
Larger birds will eat whole almonds, so you can use feeders suitable for birds such as Blue Jays and Woodpeckers.
It would also be wise to use a squirrel-proof feeder because squirrels will likely be attracted to almonds in a feeder, much the same way they are with peanuts. This way, your birds can enjoy eating almonds without the pesky squirrels bothering them.
Blend Almonds Into Smaller Pieces
Blending these nuts into smaller pieces is a great way to provide this treat to smaller birds. We often get smaller birds at our feeders, so this is the option we use from time to time.
While it does require some extra effort, it’s quite simple if you have a blender:
- Take a handful of raw almonds and add them to a blender.
- Hit the pulse or start button a few times.
- Make sure the consistency and size of the pieces are similar to what you might find in crunchy peanut butter!
If you don’t have a blender, try using a rolling pin or a knife to break the almonds into smaller pieces.
If it looks like sand, you have gone too far!
The blended almond pieces can then be added to smaller bird feeders that typically hold seeds, such as tube feeders and small hoppers.
Try Some Almond Butter
Almond butter is another excellent way for birds to eat almonds. If you’re looking for a more convenient alternative to the options above, almond butter would be it.
It provides the same benefits as whole almonds and will offer a good source of healthy fats and proteins to your feathered friends.
The only thing you have to remember is that almond butter should not contain any added sugar, salt, flavorings, or preservatives. It should be 100% almonds!
You can place almond butter in suet feeders (with mesh sides), spread it on logs and tree trunks, or add some to your bird feeding station.
If you decide to add almond butter to your bird feeder, make sure to clean it thoroughly afterward to avoid any mold from forming.
The Health Benefits Of Feeding Almonds To Birds
These nuts provide an array of health benefits for your birds.
- Fiber is essential to a bird’s digestive system, particularly in older birds.
- The fats and carbohydrates in almonds are an excellent source of energy, assisting birds in their daily activities.
- The protein in almonds is essential for muscle development and maintaining bodily functions.
- Trace elements (calcium, phosphorus, etc.) are essential for neurological processes, cellular metabolism, bone development, feather growth, and many more functions.
Almonds are a perfect supplement to wild and domestic birds’ diets, provided you feed them correctly.
How Many Almonds Should You Feed Birds?
One to two almonds per day is sufficient for most domestic birds.
Wild birds will typically take as much as they need, but you can still limit the amount you put in your feeder.
The bird’s size, species, energy requirements/activity levels, and season are important considerations when deciding how many almonds to feed and at what frequency.
Larger birds and those with high energy needs could eat more almonds than smaller birds without the excess fats becoming an issue.
Remember, feeding almonds to birds should be part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Bird species differ in their eating and nutritional requirements, and we further recommend that you start with a small serving to see how your birds react.
When Is Feeding Almonds To Birds A Bad Idea?
Although almonds are excellent for birds, we recommend feeding them as treats and not as a staple part of their diets.
Almonds contain a relatively high-fat component, which, if overeaten, may negatively impact your birds’ health.
Unfortunately, birds are not immune to obesity, and overfeeding your birds with almonds is a sure way to reach that point.
Birds might fill up on almonds (thanks to the protein and fat component) and neglect eating other food items.
While the short-term effects mean more energy for the bird, almonds are not a regular food source for most birds and lack the full range of nutrients birds need.
Avoid Bitter Almonds
Don’t feed any birds bitter almonds, as they are poisonous and cause severe health risks.
The bitter almonds can be poisonous and cause neurological issues, breathing difficulty, convulsions, depression, and, potentially, sudden death.
While most wild birds avoid the bitter almond trees, if you present the seeds to domestic and wild birds, there is a high likelihood that they’ll eat them.
Make sure the almonds you plan on feeding your birds are of the sweet variety. It only takes a small dose of the bitter kind to kill birds.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Birds Eat Almond Shells?
No, it is not a good idea to feed birds almond shells. The shells of almonds can be tough and can cause digestive problems for birds if ingested. Almonds should always be deshelled before being fed to birds as a treat.
Can Birds Eat Salted Almonds?
No, birds should not eat salted almonds. Salted nuts can cause dehydration and health problems. Stick to unsalted raw almonds as a treat for your feathered friends.
Can Birds Eat Roasted Almonds?
Yes, birds can and most often eat cooked or roasted almonds if they are roasted without salt or additional flavoring. However, raw almonds tend to have a better nutritional value. During the cooking process, almonds lose some of their “goodness.”
Can Birds Eat Almond Butter?
Yes, birds can eat almond butter as long as it does not contain added sugar, salt, flavorings, or preservatives. It should be almond % Almonds.
So, Can Birds Eat Almonds?
While almonds are a healthy snack for domestic and wild birds, we recommend you start by feeding them in small amounts.
Almonds have high-fat content, and if birds consume too many, it might lead to obesity and other health issues.
Make sure you feed your birds sweet almonds and not bitter almonds, as bitter almonds are poisonous, and even a tiny amount can kill your birds. Remember that almonds should form part of a healthy balanced diet and not wholly replace your bird’s natural food.
If you have given almonds to your birds and have some info to share, let us know! We would love to hear about your bird-feeding experiences so that we can share them with our readers. Learning is a shared experience!
Remember to check our other blog posts for more information about birds and nature. Also, remember to share this article with your friends, family, and fellow bird lovers!