Can Birds Eat Cinnamon? Here’s Why It’s Best if They Don’t

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Cinnamon is a favorite of people across the globe. This popular spice is featured in bread, buns, cake, cooked apples and pears, and more.

When people have leftovers, they often wonder if they can avoid wasting that food by feeding it to pets or birds in their backyard. Whether or not table scraps are good for birds varies by food. So, can birds eat cinnamon?

Ultimately, it’s not the cinnamon that isn’t good for birds. Some people say they occasionally feed cinnamon to their pet parrots, but what makes cinnamon a bad idea for birds is the carbohydrate-heavy, sugary foods that often contain this spice.

There are far more nutritious foods for birds than plain cinnamon, and foods like cereals and bread are not good for birds.

Angel Wing in Birds

Angel wing is a condition that affects birds (mostly waterfowl). When they consume too many carbohydrates in combination with not enough nutrients like vitamins and minerals, their wing grows awkwardly, rendering them flightless.

According to the Chicago Academy of Sciences and other nature groups, this is caused largely by a bird’s consumption of human-fed bread. In fully grown birds, the damage is irreversible and could be fatal, as birds aren’t able to migrate or fly to food sources.

In addition, it fills birds’ stomachs and makes them feel full, but it doesn’t provide them with the vitamins and minerals they need to fully function.

If it’s offered to them, birds will likely gobble up bread in quick order. They might even seem to beg for it if they’re accustomed to humans.

You’ve likely seen people feeding bread chunks to the geese, ducks, or pigeons in your local park. These people are well-meaning, but feeding these carbohydrates to birds could be doing more harm than good.

With this in mind, it’s best to just throw away extra cinnamon-covered foods. It may seem wasteful, but it’s better than causing health problems for the birds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cinnamon Toxic for Birds?

Cinnamon is not toxic for birds. While feeding cinnamon to birds isn’t toxic, there also aren’t many nutrients in cinnamon to benefit them.

Additionally, extra ingredients in things like cinnamon bread could be bad for birds, including chocolate or honey.

Can Birds Taste Cinnamon?

We don’t know for sure whether or not birds can taste cinnamon. Birds have very few taste buds compared to humans.

According to Anna Pidgeon, a wildlife and ecology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, chickens and pigeons have just 24 and 37 taste buds, respectively.

Humans have nearly 10,000 taste buds, and other mammals may have a similar number. This allows birds to eat spicy foods without tasting the heat. It may keep them from tasting cinnamon, but it’s hard to know for sure.

Can Wild Birds Eat Cinnamon Cereal?

Birds should not be given cinnamon cereal. They might eat it if it’s given to them, but cinnamon cereal is high in carbohydrates and sugars that are not great for birds.

Birds are used to foraging for food on their own and will be fine without supplemental foods that don’t meet their nutritional needs.

Is Cinnamon Bread Good for Birds?

Cinnamon bread is not good for birds. As mentioned earlier, carbohydrates fill birds’ stomachs but don’t provide them with needed nutrients. They can also lead to conditions such as Angel Wing, which could prove fatal.

Can Birds Eat Cinnamon Cake?

Certain ingredients in a cinnamon cake might be toxic for birds. Chocolate, for example, is toxic to birds.

Other ingredients like high levels of oil, salt, and sugar aren’t exactly toxic for birds, but they’re not good for them either.

Avoid giving cinnamon cake or other pastries to birds. This includes monkey bread, cinnamon bread, cinnamon rolls, or cinnamon cookies.

Are Spices Bad for Birds?

Many spices aren’t inherently bad for birds, including some red pepper spices. Red pepper is included in certain bird foods such as suet to deter squirrels, which have more taste buds than birds and can’t handle the heat as birds can.

Cinnamon, while it isn’t necessarily bad for birds, won’t provide the health benefits that more natural foods do.

Other spices, like salts (seasoning salt, garlic salt, table salt, etc.), can be very bad for birds. According to the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute, birds may develop toxicity if they consume salt in large quantities.

Too much salt can cause kidney failure, abnormal accumulation of body fluids, depression, tremors, neurological issues, or heart failure, the Institute states.

With this in mind, it is best to leave birds without most human foods in favor of more natural alternatives.

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Jacob Swanson

Jacob Swanson is a writer and wildlife photographer born and raised in Wisconsin and currently based in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his work has appeared in over a dozen different web and print outlets. In his free time, he’s on a personal quest to visit every U.S. national park and see as many wildlife species as possible. His favorite birds are whooping and sandhill cranes.