Pineapples are a delicious and healthy fruit that many people love to eat. But is that snack just as healthy for birds? And do birds like to eat it?
The truth is that birds do eat pineapple, and on the whole, it can be just as healthy for them as it is for us.
But just like us, birds need a healthy, varied diet, and pineapple—like any other treat—should only ever be fed to birds in moderation.
However, while pineapple won’t do birds any harm, and can indeed do them some good (with its digestive enzymes), it is important to remember that the best way to help the birds in your garden is not to feed supplemental foods to a bird feeder.
Instead, you should begin by making sure that your garden is planted in such a way that provides them with plenty of natural, native food sources.
Do Birds Eat Pineapple?
Many birds do eat pineapple and seem to very much enjoy doing so. Like us, the birds seem to enjoy the sweet, fruity taste.
Of course, since pineapples do not grow in most of the United States, they are not a natural part of the diet of wild birds found in the region.
Even though it is not a natural part of the diet of wild birds, many backyard birds that you might encounter close to your home will still opportunistically eat some pineapple if you leave it out for them.
Which Birds Eat Pineapple?
Most fruit-eating birds will, if you place pieces of fresh pineapple in your garden, enjoy eating some of this fruity treat. Even those birds that mostly eat seeds also often snack on a bit of fruit once in a while.
Some birds will eat larger chunks of the flesh of pineapple, while others may take small pecks or sup on the juices from the fresh fruit for peak nutritional benefits.
What Parts of a Pineapple Can Birds Eat?
Birds can eat the flesh of the pineapple—the portions that we ourselves consume. They, like us, won’t typically consume the tough outer layer (or pineapple skins) of the fruit.
They won’t eat the pineapple core either but may enjoy sipping and pecking the remaining flesh off the core if you leave it outside on your bird table.
In the wild, certain bird species can break through the tough outside of pineapple to get the vitamin C that lies within. But most birds will require our help and won’t be able to get to the inside of the fruit easily unless we help them.
Is Pineapple Good for Garden Birds?
Remember that most wild birds or backyard birds in the US will not have evolved eating these tropical fruits. Their digestive systems will not be set up to deal with them.
Though pineapples won’t be dangerous for any backyard birds—they won’t necessarily be the best food source either.
However, in moderation, when left as an occasional snack at a bird feeder or other feeding station, pineapple can provide wild birds with many of the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutritional elements that they need to be healthy.
Is Pineapple Good for Pet Birds?
Some birds kept as pets, like parrots, for example, will love pineapple—so much so that you will have to be very careful to restrict their access to the fruit.
If you give them too much, they won’t always stop when they are full, but will just keep on eating!
Like wild birds, pet birds also benefit from the healthy vitamins pineapple contains. The vitamins and other nutritional elements it contains are important things to include in a balanced diet for pet birds.
Remember, however, that while feeding some pineapple is a great idea, feeding too much can be detrimental to their blood sugar levels. Plus, creating a diet with as much variety as possible is essential for the health of your bird or birds.
How To Feed Birds Pineapple
Pineapples are, of course, not easy to grow in the United States (except in Hawaii) or other temperate climate areas.
They are native to the river drainages between southern Brazil and Paraguay and are cultivated across South America and in other tropical climate zones.
So when you are feeding pineapples to birds it is likely that you are feeding portions of a pineapple you have purchased from a store, or leftovers from a pineapple you have eaten yourself.
If you are feeding pineapple to our feathery friends, we have established that feeding the flesh does no harm at all. And that in moderation, it can be beneficial to the health of the birds.
But how exactly should you feed it?
Well, the first thing to remember is that you should only ever feed pineapple that is perfectly ripe—not underripe or overripe. It should not be rotten or beginning to spoil.
The rule is, that if you would not eat the pineapple yourself, it is best not to feed it to birds.
You can take the fresh pineapple and cut it up into little chunks, and place it on a bird table, or string rings of pineapple on a line for the birds to enjoy.
Make sure that you do not feed birds with a syrupy canned pineapple. Canned pineapple is usually preserved in a sweet syrup, which contains a lot of sugar. Since the fruit itself is already high in sugar, feeding this to birds is not a good idea.
Like us, birds can suffer if they have too much natural sugar in their diet. They can gain weight, and suffer a range of adverse effects and health consequences. The same is true of other things containing pineapples, like pineapple juice drinks and desserts.
Occasionally leaving out leftovers with sugar in them as well as pineapple won’t be a problem, as long as it is not too much, and you only do so once in a while.
But look out for other ingredients that might pose a sugar spike risk to our feathered friends.
Is Pineapple the Best Choice To Feed Birds?
We have established above that birds do eat pineapple without any ill-effect, and that pineapple can be good for birds in small quantities.
But this is not to say that pineapple is necessarily the best choice if you are looking for options for food for wild garden birds or pet birds.
The problem is, for most of us who live in a temperate climate, pineapples are not an eco-friendly choice.
The main issue is that the pineapples we buy have to travel a long way to reach us—racking up those food miles and contributing to our climate crisis and biodiversity losses.
The best way to care for birds and other wildlife around you is to do all you can to help protect the planet—cutting your carbon footprint and trying to make the right choices in your daily life.
That means, among other things, thinking carefully about food.
So, rather than rushing out to buy pineapples for birds, think about seeking out local, seasonal, organic produce. Better yet, try to grow food for birds as well as for yourself in your garden.
Provide natural food sources by growing a wide range of plants with as many native species as possible. And create abundant, thriving habitats that cater to your own needs as well as the needs of the birds and other wildlife that share your space.
To feed the birds, plant species native to your area, and perhaps some other species suited to the growing conditions where you live. That is the very best way to provide the birds with what they need to eat.