As a backyard birdwatcher, I am always looking for new ways to attract birds to my yard and keep them well-fed. And while I have tried a variety of bird feeders and seed mixes over the years, one food that I recently became curious about is grapes, but can birds eat grapes?
I often snack on these sweet little fruits myself, so I couldn’t help but wonder if they were safe and nutritious for my feathered friends to eat.
Can Birds Eat Grapes?
Yes, birds can eat grapes. Wild birds will naturally eat wild grapes, vine grapes from vineyards, and grapes offered at backyard bird feeders. They can eat everything from all grape varieties, including grape flesh, grape seeds, and grape skin. Pet birds will especially enjoy this tasty treat, but be sure to feed them appropriately, as grapes contain a lot of sugar.
After doing some research and experimentation, I am excited to share that grapes are a healthy and safe treat for birds, and many bird species can and will gladly eat grapes as often as possible.
Although grapes are an excellent natural source of antioxidants, carbohydrates, and minerals, the glucose and fructose in grapes can become an issue.
So let’s dive in and discover why these tasty little fruits are an excellent addition to your backyard bird feeder and when they could harm your birds.
Why Are Grapes Good For Birds?
Grapes are one of several types of fruits suitable for birds to eat, which include apples, oranges, bananas, and berries.
Many birds are frugivores and have been eating wild grapes long before humans began growing grapes agriculturally.
Grapes, like most fruits, are packed with nutritional value. The various minerals and vitamins are essential for healthy growth and development in birds.
Eating grapes promotes skin and feather production, bone development (calcium), and metabolic functioning, adds fiber to their diets, and benefits a bird’s immune system.
Nutritional Value Of Grapes
One cup of grapes (roughly 150g) contains:
- Calories – 104
- Carbohydrates – 27 g
- Copper – 0.192 mg
- Fat – 0.2 g
- Fiber – 1.4 g
- Manganese – 0.138 mg
- Potassium – 282 mg
- Protein – 1 g
Grapes are also full of essential vitamins, including Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
Grapes offer Three Other Nutritional Benefits To Birds
Other than vitamins and minerals, grapes offer other nutritional benefits such as:
Grapes Are A Potent Source Of Sugars
Grapes are packed full of fructose and glucose, with few calories and no cholesterol, making them a healthy energy source.
Grapes Contain Water
All birds need a constant supply of clean water. Grapes are roughly 82% water, which makes them all the more appealing to your feathered friends.
This high water concentration adds to their daily requirements but is not a substitute for fresh, clean drinking water.
Grapes Are A Source Of Antioxidants
Although “antioxidants” are a buzzword, researchers agree that they may play some role in disease prevention by helping the body’s immune system and waste-processing systems.
Wide grape varieties are a fantastic source of antioxidants, and while that may not be the main reason for feeding them to birds, it’s a lovely added benefit!
Birds eating grapes is good for nature
Fruit-loving birds have always played an essential role in nature by eating delicious fruit.
Plants produce appealing fruits such as wild grapes to be as attractive to birds and other animals as possible.
When the fruit ripens, it usually increases in sugar concentrations. This sugar attracts animals who eat the fruit and leave, carrying the grape seeds with them.
Upon defecation (pooping), the animals distribute the seeds, germinating into new plants in a different area.
Birds are essential seed dispersal agents, and many plant species would suffer without them.
Which Birds Can Eat Grapes?
Most bird species eat grapes, except obligate carnivores (like birds of prey). Any vegetarian, omnivore, or frugivore species will eat grapes.
There are, however, several species with a particular liking for eating grapes. These include:
- American Robins
- Baltimore Orioles
- Finches (various)
- Parrots (most)
- European Starling
Birds are relatively easy when eating grapes. They’ll eat most varieties like green, red, seedless, seeded, and wine-making grapes at varying stages of ripeness.
Depending on the bird species, some may prefer over or under-ripe grapes.
When there are roughly 10 000 grape varieties and around 60 distinct species, it’s a small wonder that birds are not picky!
When Are Grapes Bad For Birds?
Excess sugar is not suitable for anyone, including birds. The best approach when feeding grapes to birds is moderation, variety, and a healthy balance to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
Too much sugar leads to diabetes, obesity, and other nutrient deficiencies.
Captive birds often don’t handle large sugar concentrations, as well as free-roaming birds.
Wild birds can burn off the excess sugar they digest during flight, so eating grapes will usually have a moderate effect.
Unfortunately, domesticated birds (particularly those in cages) are at a much higher risk of developing health complications from overeating sugary fruits.
Aside from becoming overweight, birds may not eat their other natural food if they fill up on grapes.
Many birds select grapes from their bowls while discarding/ignoring all the other food items that provide a more balanced natural diet.
Although grapes contain various nutrients, they don’t have the total nutritional value that birds need.
Are Store-Bought Grapes Okay For Birds To Eat?
Fresh grapes you buy from the store are usually suitable for birds.
However, we suggest using organic grapes since they should contain zero chemicals or other harmful waxes. If you buy non-organic grapes, we recommend rinsing them to remove waxes and toxic chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers.
Non-organic food may upset your bird’s digestive system or poison them outright if they are not rinsed thoroughly.
How Many Are Too Many Grapes?
Most captive birds should eat around one to two grapes twice a week. Any more would be too much.
The type of bird, size, age, and activity levels are significant factors in determining how many grapes they should eat and how frequently.
Larger and wild birds that are active could have more grapes as weekly treats.
Smaller birds might struggle with whole grapes and may not be able to break the skin. Many people cut grapes into smaller pieces and will occasionally remove the skin.
Cutting grapes might only sometimes be necessary, as birds will usually peck at grapes until they break the skin and get access to the fleshy bits.
However, cutting grapes into smaller pieces may remove some of the juice from the grape, which may help reduce the sugar content of the grape.
Birds benefit best from a well-rounded, balanced diet tailor-made to the specific species. Most birds need a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
Consulting with a veterinarian is a superb way to establish a healthy eating plan for your bird.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can birds eat whole grapes?
Yes, birds can eat whole grapes. However, some smaller birds may have difficulty breaking the skin on a whole grape. In this case, cutting the grape into smaller pieces is recommended.
Can birds eat seedless grapes?
Yes, birds can eat seedless grapes. All grapes are safe for birds to eat if they are fresh and free from chemicals or waxes. Buy organic grapes if possible. If not, rinse the non-organic grapes thoroughly before feeding them to your bird.
Do you need to cut grapes for birds to eat?
No, you do not need to cut grapes for birds to eat. However, cutting them into smaller pieces can help reduce the sugar content of the grape and may also help smaller birds break through the skin more easily. Removing the skin from grapes is also a good idea since some birds may have difficulty digesting it.
Do birds eat grapes in winter?
Yes, birds will gladly eat grapes in the winter. Some wild grape varieties can survive the winter months and be highly sort after for their sugar content. The same is true if grapes are offered at a bird feeding station.
Can birds eat grape jelly?
No, birds should not eat grape jelly. It is full of artificial sweeteners and preservatives, which can harm birds. Also, it does not provide any nutritional value to birds. It’s best to stick with fresh grapes or other natural fruits.
So, Can Birds Eat Grapes?
Grapes are a safe, healthy treat, and most birds love eating grapes thanks to their sugar and water content.
While grapes contain many beneficial minerals and vitamins, you should only give your pet birds one to two grapes once or twice a week.
Wild birds can eat more, but the amount should still be moderated to avoid any potential side effects from too much sugar.
Birds that eat too many grapes may become obese or nutrient deficient. A nutritious, balanced diet is vital to healthy, happy birds, and treating backyard birds once in a while with grapes is not a bad idea either.
If you have given grapes 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!