Can Birds Eat Cranberries? (Benefits + Why Birds Don’t Like Them)

Birds 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.

Fruits are a good food to give birds, but what about cranberries? Can birds eat cranberries? This article looks into it

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.

Can birds eat cranberries?

A bird’s diet determines how healthy the animal will be. Many diseases in birds can be traced back to nutritional deficiencies.

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.

Cranberries are a healthy food. Birds can eat cranberries but they may not like the taste.

Cranberries, when eaten raw, have a very sharp taste, birds aren’t particularly fond of this taste but the berries are good for birds nonetheless.

Health benefits of birds eating 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. This is a major flaw of the fruit, a benefit of the fruit is their nutrient profile.

Cranberries contain a number of vitamins and minerals including copper, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E, and vitamin K1. They also contain proteins, fiber, fats, and sugars

A main benefit of cranberries are the antioxidants

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 sun’s rays create free radical damage, this is one of the factors that cause aging in humans. In birds, these free radicals are associated with age-related pathologies.

What about dried cranberries?

Dried cranberries are much sweeter but this type also has its drawbacks.

When the fruit is dried sulfur 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 sulfur dioxide.

If you want to feed your bird dried cranberries make sure to feed them naturally dried cranberries that are free from sulfur 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 some popcorn and 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.

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, and 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?


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.


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


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 sulfur 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.

If you’re curious about what foods birds eat, here are articles looking at if birds eat broccoli and if birds eat banana peels

Can Birds Eat Cranberries? (Benefits + Why Birds Don’t Like Them)
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