Can birds eat cranberries? Do they even like them?

Cranberries are one of the sour berries, can birds eat cranberries?

Birds can eat cranberries but they may not want to because of the sour taste. Cranberries are a good source of antioxidants which will boost the bird’s immune system. They also contain copper, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K1 and other nutrients. Birds prefer dried cranberries because they are not sour.

Bird eat as they please in the wild. They know what to eat to sustain a healthy naturally balanced diet. When it comes to birds that are in captivity, you as a bird owner need to figure out what to feed the bird. You don’t have to give them exactly what they eat in the wild but you should ensure that they have a variety of food options available that are healthy and nutritious.

Birds can develop nutritional deficiencies because of a poor diet. This can lead to a weak immune system and thus a higher chance of suffering from bacterial and viral infections. In fact, many diseases in birds can be traced back to nutritional deficiencies.

For this reason, you need to know what’s good and what isn’t good for the birds. Make sure that you’re giving your bird a good combination of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vitamins and minerals.

Benefits of cranberries

Cranberries are a type of berry. They belong to a family of other berries which include lingonberries, blueberries and bilberries. When eaten raw, they have a sour and very sharp taste. That is why they are seldom eaten raw. Cranberries contain a number of vitamins and minerals including copper, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E and vitamin K1. They also contain proteins, fibre, fats and sugars

Can birds eat cranberries?

Not too many birds like cranberries but they can eat them. Cranberries, when eaten raw, have a very sharp taste, birds aren’t particularly fond of this taste but the berries are good for birds none the less. One of the main advantages of birds eating cranberries are the antioxidants in the berries.

The antioxidants in cranberries help boost the bird’s immune system. This is helpful whether you are feeding the berries to wild birds or to birds in captivity.

Not only do the antioxidants boost the bird’s immune system but they also protect the bird from free radical damage. The suns rays create free radical damage, this is one of the factors that cause ageing in humans. In birds, these free radicals are associated with age-related pathologies.

Dried cranberries are much sweeter but this type also has its drawbacks. When the fruit is dried sulphur dioxide is used to preserve the fruits. Birds don’t take well to this chemical. It is very dangerous to the bird’s heath.

Birds have been known to have a dangerous allergic reaction when consuming sulphur dioxide. If you want to feed your bird dried cranberries make sure to feed them naturally dried cranberries which are free from sulphur dioxide.

How to prepare cranberries for birds:

Cranberry and popcorn garland: Birds love popcorn and adding them to a garland then leaving the garland out will be a lovely snack for birds and will be a pretty decoration for you. To make the garland use a needle with a large eye to thread a piece of ribbon, yarn or string through the popcorn and the cranberries. Squirrels love popcorn too, they will also eat from the garland, read more about it here

In water: You can drop some fresh cranberries in your bird’s water. Birds seem to enjoy bobbing for cranberries to get the cranberries out. This is an easy way to get your birds to eat the cranberries and it is fun for the birds as well.

Tip: Do not give your bird cranberry juice unless you make it yourself. Cranberry juice is generally very concentrated. In addition, it is very sweet and you may not realise how much sugar you’re giving your bird. Too much sugar is not good for birds.

Birds and fruits

Birds love fruit, pretty much everyone loves fruit. Fruits are an easy source of sugar and are generally readily available in their natural habitats. This source of sugar is this an excellent source of energy which the bird will need especially in the colder seasons.

Fruits are also quite nutritious for birds but you need to make sure that you don’t overindulge your bird with fruits. The fruit can add too much sugar in their diet.

Birds will eat fruits that are toxic to humans like certain types of berries. Birds are even known to eat and enjoy overripe or damaged fruits which humans would rather void.

Some birds only eat the inside of fruits and others eat the inside and the skin. Some fruit skins aren’t digestible to birds like banana peels, read more about it here. Fruits that bird enjoy include cut oranges, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, raisins, grapes and prickly pear to name a few

Tip: Non-organic fruit peels will have a layer of pesticides on the outside. If you are feeding your birds fruits without the skin then this shouldn’t be an issue but if you’re feeding your bird fruits with the skin you need to thoroughly clean the fruits.

If the bird eats the pesticide then the bird can start to lose weight, suffer a decrease in fertility, suffer a decrease in the ability to hatch eggs and have other adverse health effects.

Tip: You can feed your birds vegetables, they love broccoli. Read more here.

What animals eat cranberries?

Cranberries can be quite tart and birds may shy away from the fruit. There are other animals that eat cranberries, these animals include black bears, deer, rabbits, rodents, chipmunks, mice, geese.

Other birds that can eat cranberry are wrens, chickadees, jays, woodpeckers and warblers. These animals do not mind the sour taste of these berries, cranberries are a good and easy food source for these animals

What should you not feed birds?

Avocado: This may be delicious food to humans but it should never be served to a bird. Avocado plant leaves contain a fatty acid called pectin. If your bird ingests this fatty acid the bird can develop heart damage, weakness, issues with their respiratory system and even sudden death.

Caffeine: This is a staple in my peoples daily life but this stimulant is toxic to birds. Just like in humans, caffeine can increase the birds heard rate. It can also cause hyperactivity, cause the bird’s heart to beat irregularly and even cause cardiac rest

Chocolate: This as another food that is loved by people far and wide but is toxic to birds. If you give the bird chocolate in very small amounts the chocolate can still be toxic and harm the bird. Chocolate contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine. When your bird ingests these it can begin to vomit, develop tremors, start seizing, get diarrhoea and even die.

Tip: Don’t feed your bird junk food of any kind. They may like french fries but french fries aren’t good for them. Read more here.


Cranberries are a source of a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals, these berries are very good for your health. Unfortunately, not all birds will enjoy them.

Cranberries are quite tart and sour which is why birds aren’t fond of them. If you give birds dried cranberries make sure the cranberries do not contain sulphur dioxide as this can cause an allergic reaction in the bird.

If you want to give the bird other types of fruit you can, just give the birds fruit in moderation. Remember to remove the seeds as these are toxic to the bird. You can add the fruits to a garland or leave them in water for the bird to bob for.

Can birds eat cranberries? Do they even like them?
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