If you’re a bird lover (or even a bird owner) you probably enjoy learning the best way to supplement their diet with things you grow in your garden.
Peach trees, for example, are a wonderful addition to any garden, but do they actually provide food for birds as well as for us?
Yes, many birds can and do eat peaches. But they can only eat the flesh and skin and not the pits.
For some birds, fruit such as peaches are a major part of their diet. For others, seeds, or insects, are more important. But even birds that don’t predominantly eat fruit, will often still opportunistically eat peaches if they are around.
To find out more about this topic and the best ways to provide peaches for birds in your garden, read on.
Do Birds Like Peaches?
Like us, many fruit-eating birds love peaches. Some birds will consume the skin and flesh, some only peck soft flesh, and others may sip a little at the juices.
In fact, if you grow peaches in your garden for yourself and your family, you may well find that you have a lot of competition for your fruits.
Birds may well get to your ripe harvest before you do, so sometimes, it may be necessary to use a fruit cage or other protection to make sure that there will still be peaches for you.
You can also discourage birds from eating fruits by adding features that make noise, shine, or move erratically around your favorite fruit trees.
Just remember to only use physical barriers where necessary and completely forgo harmful chemicals that harm birds, other wildlife, and the environment.
To help the birds in your garden, it is great to share if you can; think of the portion of the fruit harvest lost to birds as ‘natural taxes.’ Remember, if you take care of birds and other wildlife, and welcome them to your garden, they will take care of you too.
Birds help us in a range of ways in our gardens, like eating harmful insects that like to ravage our harvest, as well as providing melodies and an attractive view.
Which Birds Eat Peaches?
Some birds that eat peaches are crows, cardinals, finches, grosbeaks, house sparrows, jays, mockingbirds, orioles, and tanagers, for example.
However, most fruit-eating birds will enjoy eating a little peach if they get the chance!
A range of birds will very much appreciate being provided with fresh fruit, including peaches, whether on trees within your space or at a bird feeder.
Are Peaches Good for Birds?
Peaches, both the flesh and the skin, can be beneficial in a bird’s diet. The pits, however, should not be consumed and should never be provided. And of course, you should not provide rotten or fermenting fruit.
Is the Flesh of the Fresh Fruit Nutritious?
Birds can certainly eat the flesh of peaches, or sip juices from the fruit. This delicious fruit is a wonderful source of vitamins, including vitamins A, E, K, and C. It also provides birds with potassium, manganese, and traces of copper.
Can Birds Eat Peach Skin?
The skin of a peach is also just fine for birds to eat and can provide a good source of dietary fiber.
Some birds will eat the skin along with the flesh, while others may take advantage of a break in the skin to eat the soft flesh beneath.
Are Peach Pits Toxic to Birds?
When birds feast on the peaches from a tree, they will naturally avoid the pits, sometimes known as peach stones. The pits of these and other stone fruits (such as apple seeds) contain cyanide, which can cause oxidative stress as well as tissue damage.
Birds won’t usually attempt to eat them, but they may be accidentally poisoned if they crack the stones and attempt to eat them. So if you plan on providing peaches on a bird table or at another bird feeder area, be sure to de-stone the fruits first.
Can Birds Have Canned Peaches or Peach Juice?
If you grow your own peaches or make your own peach juice, then the leftovers and the juice can be left out for the birds, but remember that if you have used sugar in a recipe, then they should only ever be given in small quantities, and occasionally.
Sugar is just as bad for birds in excessive quantities as it is for us.
You should ideally only give birds peaches on their own, either in portions or a little juice, and will also need to make sure that no harmful additional ingredients have been added.
Can Birds Have Dried Peaches?
You can also feed dried peaches in moderation. If you soak these to rehydrate them, they will be more appealing to a wider range of birds, as they prefer pieces of moist fruit.
However, it is important to note that you should only feed peaches you have dried yourself at home, and not commercially dried peaches, which often contain harmful preservatives like sulfur dioxide that can pose a threat to birds even in small quantities.
How To Provide Peaches for Birds
The best way to provide peaches for birds is by growing a peach tree in your garden, and remaining relaxed about birds pecking the ripe fruit before you get to them.
Planting to provide natural food sources for the birds in your garden is always the best place to start if you want to help the species that are present in your area.
Peaches (and nectarines) are a stone fruit of a deciduous tree, Prunus persica, that was first grown and domesticated in China. Though not native to the US, they were first brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th Century and are extremely popular in many regions. They can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 5-9.
Of course, if you plant a peach tree, you may well want to harvest most of the fruit yourself. One of the best ways to ensure that birds don’t eat the lot and just take a smaller share is to make sure you plant these along with plenty of other fruit trees and berry-producing shrubs, climbers, and canes.
It is a great idea to consider not only common commercial fruit varieties or typical orchard fruit crops but also planting plenty of native fruit trees and berry bushes in your garden. Choosing plenty of native species is always a great thing to do for the birds and other wildlife that share your space.
Some US native fruit trees that you might be able to consider growing alongside or instead of peaches and other non-native fruits include crabapples, persimmons, American pawpaws, red mulberries, native cherries, American plums, elderberries, serviceberries, and native hawthorns, for example.
Of course, whether you grow peaches in your garden or not, you can also feed fresh peaches to the birds by de-stoning them and simply placing the chunks of fruit on a bird table or at another feeding station.
You can also consider stringing peach slices or other pieces of fruit on a line of natural twine and hanging these somewhere in your garden. This keeps peaches safe from pests and gives birds a chance to eat where they are less likely to fall prey to predator attacks.
Remember, to keep things as healthy as possible and provide a safe, healthy, and well-rounded diet for garden birds, as well as for you, it is best to use only fresh, organically grown fruit wherever possible.