I love offering less traditional bird food to my backyard visitors. It is fun to offer things they might not be getting elsewhere.
What about figs? Can birds eat figs? Are figs safe for birds? Are they a healthy option? Absolutely! Birds love figs! Let’s take a look at why that’s the case!
Why Do Birds Love Figs?
I had no idea until recently that fig trees provide more fruit to birds than any other fruit tree!
In the regions where fig trees thrive, there are often few fruits that are so plentiful. That means birds that need fruit in their diet will be drawn to figs because of how accessible they are.
Figs are also very important to the insects in the area. Some birds will stay near fig trees because they want to eat those insects, not just the fruit itself!
In other words, birds love figs because these trees offer fruit and insects.
Do Wild Birds Eat Figs From the Tree?
People with one fig tree and farmers with thousands all face the same challenge: how to keep birds out of their figs!
Birds are a huge nuisance for people trying to grow a fig crop. Even just one fig tree can become overwhelmed by flocks of hungry birds!
It’s pretty clear that birds feast on figs and enjoy their many health benefits in the wild. Birds face no health risks from eating the fruit from fig trees.
Health Benefits of Figs
Figs are healthy for both humans and birds. For humans, they may improve digestion, manage blood sugar levels, and decrease your risk of developing heart disease.
Figs are rich in vitamins and minerals. Specifically, figs contain:
- Vitamin A and Vitamin C
These things are just as important for birds as they are for people! A varied diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, contributes to a healthy bird population.
What Kinds of Birds Like Figs?
Not all birds eat fruit. Raptors and birds of prey, for example, are meat eaters who live on a diet of rodents, reptiles, large insects, and other animals. They will rarely choose to eat fruit.
You rarely see hawks, owls, eagles, or other birds of prey at your birdfeeders because they simply do not consume birdseed, fruit, nectar, or suet.
Any bird that eats fruit as a major part of its diet will eat figs.
Fruit-eating birds include:
If you are trying to increase the numbers of any of these species at your feeders, figs may be just the thing to add!
Feeding Figs to Birds
If you’re not in the frustrating position of needing to protect your fig trees from hungry birds, you can always add figs to your bird-feeding routine.
Figs can be offered to birds raw, whole, diced, or cooked. You can mix them with sesame seeds and raw pumpkin seeds to ensure a healthy diet.
Most birds have no trouble snacking on a whole, raw fig. They are more likely to eat ripe figs than unripe ones. If you want to place a whole fig or a few figs on a platter or birdfeeder dish, that’s fine!
You can also slice or dice a fig. Because it’s for the birds, you don’t have to worry about separating the peel from the flesh of the fruit. Just slice it open and leave it outside where the birds will access it.
One option is to re-purpose an oriole feeder. Many oriole feeders include one or more skewers where you can place half of an orange, as orioles love oranges. You could always use those skewers for figs instead!
Never Feed Rotten Figs to Birds
It’s a simple truth: rotten food is bad for birds.
Most of the time, they will avoid anything that seems “off,” but sometimes, they might not notice mold growth or spoiled food.
Don’t put rotten or moldy figs out for your birds. If you put out good figs that are not eaten within a few days, check them to ensure they have not gotten moldy. This is especially important during the heat of summer when sugars ferment and mold faster.
Are Dried Figs Ok for Birds?
Dried figs are also fine!
In fact, many pet stores and bird stores sell dried figs as food for pet birds, like parrots.
One of the benefits of offering dried figs to your backyard birds is that they stay fresh for longer. They are less likely to mold in the first days after you put them on a platter.
Additionally, you don’t have to keep a bunch of fresh figs in your refrigerator if you have dried figs on hand.
Dried figs have good nutritional value, just like fresh figs. It may take the birds a few days to recognize this new food source, but once they figure it out, they will benefit from dried figs just like fresh ones.
Can Baby Birds Eat Figs?
Baby birds still in the nest receive all their food from their parents. Adults and nestlings eat the same things, but mature birds may change the texture of the food by partially consuming it first and then regurgitating it.
Once juvenile birds move out of the nest, they are ready to eat a normal diet. Babies can definitely eat figs just like adult birds do.
However, if you find an abandoned or injured baby bird, please contact a licensed bird and wildlife rehabilitator. Don’t try to feed the baby bird anything until you have spoken to a rehabilitator about what is safe and what you should do next.
Offer Figs to Birds and Enjoy What Happens Next!
Birds with diverse, nutritionally rich, and tasty diets are happy birds! And happy birds are the best ones to see at your feeders.
Adding figs to your bird-feeding routine is a great idea if you want to increase the number of species you see in your yard or garden. Whether you give fresh, dried, diced, or whole figs, you are almost guaranteed to see new visitors this way!
While I don’t recommend putting figs out if they get old and moldy on your counter, I enthusiastically recommend putting healthy, fresh, and dried figs out for the birds. I hope you see lovely new birds by offering one of the bird kingdom’s favorite fruits!