Cantaloupe is a delicious fruit for people, but can birds eat it, too?
Plenty of people offer cantaloupe flesh and cantaloupe seeds to the birds in their backyard, but it’s always a good idea to double-check before putting out any new food items for your backyard birds.
Good news: cantaloupe is a safe food for birds! There are only a few precautions to take to give cantaloupe to the wild birds in your neighborhood safely.
What Makes Cantaloupe So Healthy?
Cantaloupe is a delicious treat that is also incredibly healthy.
It is a low-calorie fruit with plenty of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and potassium. One cup of cantaloupe contains:
- 60 calories
- Only 0.3g of fat
- 28mg of sodium
- 14.4g of carbs
- 1.6g of fiber
- 14g of sugar
- 1.5g of protein
- 65mg of Vitamin C
- 299.1mcg of Vitamin A
- 472.6mg of Potassium
That 65 mg of Vitamin C makes up 72% of the daily recommended amount, and 299.1mcg of Vitamin A is 33% of the daily recommended amount!
Cantaloupe is used in fruit salads, green salads, juices, and even bread recipes. It is often eaten fresh and cold after being diced into bite-size pieces.
Clearly, cantaloupe is a great addition to human diets. What about birds?
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe for Wild Birds
Birds need many of the same vitamins and minerals that humans need.
A bird’s diet must provide them with Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin K, and more. In order to have healthy organs, skin, and feathers, birds need to have a diet that meets their unique needs.
Bird diets vary from species to species, so it’s not like all birds need the exact same diet. A meat-eating bird of prey, like a hawk or eagle, won’t eat cantaloupe because that’s not going to meet its dietary needs.
A fruit-eating bird, however, will get plenty of nutrients from cantaloupe – and will probably enjoy the taste, too!
How to Prepare Cantaloupe for Birds
Feeding cantaloupe to birds requires minimal preparation.
The least labor-intensive way to feed a cantaloupe to the wild birds in your neighborhood is to simply break or slice it open and put the halves in your yard. You don’t even need a special feeder!
Some birds will visit cantaloupe that has been tossed into the yard like this, but plenty of others will find this too overwhelming. They would prefer a smaller piece of cantaloupe that they can access more easily.
Small songbirds and fruit-eating birds will do better if you chop the cantaloupe into bite-size pieces.
I always recommend only putting a little bit of cantaloupe at a time. If you put out too much at once, it can spoil quickly or attract bees, flies, and ants, as well as nuisance wildlife like raccoons and opossums. It can also get moldy before it is consumed.
Precautions When Feeding Birds
Birds don’t typically eat cantaloupe rinds. They are too tough for birds to consume, and they lack any real dietary benefits.
While large birds may try to peck through the rinds of whole cantaloupes, there is no real reason why a bird would need to eat the peel of a cantaloupe that has been sliced open.
That said, you may choose to peel the cantaloupe so that you aren’t accidentally exposing birds to chemicals and pesticides that are on the outside of a treated melon.
Another option would be to wash the outside of the melon before cutting it into pieces.
Never Feed Spoiled Fruit to Birds
Another precaution is to make sure that you never feed spoiled, moldy fruit to birds. It can make them terribly sick. Moldy fruit, birdseed, nectar, and feeders are all potential threats to wild birds.
That’s why we always recommend ensuring the cleanliness of your birdfeeders by washing them often.
FAQ About Feeding Cantaloupe to Birds
Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions people have about adding cantaloupe to the diet of backyard birds!
How Much Cantaloupe Can Birds Eat?
Eating too much cantaloupe can affect a bird’s digestive tract by giving them diarrhea. However, wild birds generally manage their own food intake pretty effectively, and they won’t make themselves eat so much that they get sick.
If you have a pet bird, such as a parrot or parakeet, it is best to only provide a small amount of cantaloupe each week.
Can Birds Eat Cantaloupe Seeds?
Yes! cantaloupe seeds are a perfectly safe addition to a bird’s diet. They may be too big for some songbirds, but larger wild birds that eat fruit can will likely gobble them up!
Do Birds Eat Cantaloupe in the Wild?
Birds won’t usually go after a whole cantaloupe because of the thickness of the skin. That means that cantaloupe gardens usually aren’t a target of small birds.
Larger birds, like crows, will peck holes in thick-skinned crops like cantaloupes, watermelons, and pumpkins.
Can Birds Eat Other Melons?
Generally, birds love melons of all varieties!
In addition to cantaloupe, birds will eat watermelons, muskmelons, honeydew, pumpkins, zucchini, summer squash, casabas, can melons, and ambrosia melons.
The Last Word on Feeding Cantaloupe to Birds
The most important thing to know about feeding cantaloupe to your backyard birds is that it makes a healthy, delicious snack – as long as you don’t give them so much that it goes moldy before they can eat it!
A little bit of juicy fruit goes a long way with backyard birds.
Enjoy feeding this yummy treat to the birds in your backyard. You might just end up enticing some new visitors to come to your feeders and garden!