can birds eat paper

Can Birds Eat Paper? Safety Tips for the Birds in Your Life!

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If you have pet birds, or just enjoy watching them in your backyard, you’re likely always in search of information to help them thrive. Among the many questions you have, you may wonder: can birds eat paper? 

Well, we’re glad you asked! No, birds can’t eat paper. As in, it’s not particularly healthy for them.

Whether or not birds do eat paper is an entirely different story. In this blog post, we will address whether or not birds can eat paper, why they eat paper, and what may happen when they do (hint: it’s not good). 

Can Birds Eat Paper?

Whether you have birds for pets, or just enjoy observing them in the world, chances are you’ve seen birds eating paper at some point in your life.

Whether it’s a curious crow pecking at a scrap of trash or a mischievous pigeon nibbling on a piece of newspaper, it’s not uncommon to see birds interacting with paper.

This is especially true if you keep your birds in a cage, which you line with newspaper or other types of paper. But can they digest it? The answer? It depends. Sometimes, a bird may be able to digest paper without any ill effects, but that doesn’t mean they should ingest it. 

In the wild, a bird’s diet, depending on the species, can include things such as insects, small mammals, and even other birds. In captivity, or in urban spaces, birds eat things such as bird feed and other commercialized food sources. Whether wild or captive, paper should never be a part of their diet. 

Despite rumors, paper doesn’t contain any beneficial nutrients, and it can actually cause painful, life-threatening blockages in a bird’s digestive tract. 

Why Do Birds Eat Paper?

There are a few known reasons that birds eat paper. 

First, birds who live in urban areas often come across paper, in the form of trash or litter. At first glance, birds may mistake paper scraps for food — especially if it was used for food packaging, and still smells like food. 

Second, all birds, whether wild or captive, exhibit evolutionary habits that are deeply ingrained in their DNA. One habit that many birds share is the urge to shred things — especially during nesting season. In the wild, birds shred and collect small bits of things like animal fur, dead leaves, and even feathers, to pad their nests. 

Birds also use their beaks to explore and learn about the world, so they may also shred paper out of boredom.

With that said, paper consumption can be dangerous. Even if it doesn’t always result in blockages in their intestines. it’s never worth it to take the risk. 

What Should You Do When You See a Bird Eating Paper?

Picture this: you’re out for a walk when you see a bird eating paper. What should you do?

Well, first, don’t panic. Birds are often curious creatures and may mistake a piece of paper for food. If the bird is only nibbling on the paper, there’s no need to intervene.

However, if the bird is trying to eat a large piece of paper, it’s important to remove the paper before it can swallow it. Swallowing large pieces of paper can be harmful to birds and may even result in death.

If you’re not sure how to remove the paper safely, contact a local wildlife rescue organization for assistance. In most cases, a simple intervention will be all that’s needed to keep the bird safe.

Is Paper Toxic to Birds?

While the paper is not technically toxic to birds, it can still pose a serious threat to their health.

As stated above, birds often mistake small pieces of paper for food, and if they ingest it, it can cause blockages in their digestive tracts.

In addition, birds build nests out of paper, which can result in the ingestion of small amounts of ink and other chemicals.

While most birds will not be seriously harmed by eating a few pieces of paper, it is still best to avoid giving them access to it. If you must use paper around birds, make sure to keep it out of reach and dispose of it properly.

Why Do Birds Eat Newspaper?

You might have seen your feathered friend eating strange paper on one or more occasions. While it is not the healthiest diet for them, birds will eat just about anything in small quantities.

In the wild, birds might eat insects, small mammals, berries, and other fruits. But when they are in captivity, their diet is much more limited.

Many pet birds are fed a diet of pellets or seed mixes that provide all the nutrients they need. However, these diets can be quite boring for birds. As a result, they often turn to other objects in their environment to satisfy their need for variety. This includes everything from toys to food wrappers to bits of paper.

While the paper doesn’t provide any nutritional value for birds, it can help them to stay mentally stimulated and avoid boredom. Just make sure they don’t swallow it. You should also limit their proximity if they make a habit out of it.

What Do Birds Use Paper For?

Most people know that birds build nests out of twigs and grass, but did you know that they also use paper?

That’s right – paper is one of the most popular materials for bird nests. Many bird species will use whatever paper they can find, including torn-up bits of newspaper, scraps of wrapping paper, and even used tissue paper.

So why do birds like to use paper? For one thing, it’s easy to find and gather. Paper is also light and airy, so it helps to keep the nest well-insulated. And finally, paper is very absorbent, so it helps to keep the nest dry.

So next time you see a bird’s nest made out of paper, don’t be surprised – it’s just nature at work!

Effects of Eating Paper on Birds

Eating paper can have several impacts on birds. In the short term, it can lead to indigestion and gastrointestinal distress. In more severe cases, it can cause blockages in the digestive tract and lead to malnutrition.

Paper also poses a choking hazard, as it can easily get stuck in a bird’s throat. Over time, eating paper can also damage a bird’s beak and lead to other problems with the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

In addition, the paper generally contains harmful chemicals that can be toxic to birds. For all these reasons, it is best to avoid feeding paper to birds.


In conclusion, birds can eat paper but it is not the healthiest diet for them.

Birds often mistake small pieces of paper for food and if they ingest it, it can cause blockages in their digestive tracts.

In addition, birds frequently build nests out of paper which can result in the ingestion of small amounts of ink and other chemicals. 

Always err on the side of caution and try to keep paper out of their reach!

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