Birds love to eat fruits, be it fruit left out on a bird feeder or organically hanging from a tree. But can birds eat plums? Are they a safe variety of fruit for wild birds?
Can Birds Eat Plums?
Those with plum trees growing in their gardens and those with forest gardens or orchards may already know the answer to this question.
Birds will eat plums on the tree as soon as they are ripe and will also appreciate it if you leave out excess for them at a bird feeder or garden feeding station.
In fact, many people are sometimes irritated by birds who may get to enjoy much of the harvest before they get the chance to do so.
Some will keep trees in fruit cages or net their trees, to keep birds away. However, many will simply take the same approach I do in my own garden and live and let live.
Each year, I share my plum harvest with the birds. We get the bulk of the fruits to use ourselves, but we are also happy to pay nature’s ‘taxes’ and let birds and other wildlife take their share.
Which Birds Eat Plums?
In the US, bluebirds, jays, mockingbirds, robins, tanagers, thrashers, thrushes, woodpeckers, and others are among the birds that eat fruit on a regular basis. They are often known as frugivorous – another word for fruit-eating.
Some birds thought of as seed eaters, like finches, for example, will enjoy the fruit. And plums will also be enjoyed by often less-welcomed backyard bird species like crows, grackles, and starlings.
Many birds enjoy the delicious, sweet flavor of these tasty fruits.
Which Parts of Plums Can Birds Eat?
Birds will enjoy pecking through the soft plum skins or taking advantage of breaks in the skins of the fruits to sip at the juices or peck at the juicy flesh within.
But if you are not simply watching birds eating plums from the tree or the ground around it, it is important to know which parts of the plum birds can and cannot eat.
Can Birds Eat Plum Skins?
The skin of plums 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 or sip at the soft flesh beneath.
Can Birds Eat Plum Pits?
The pits of plums and other stone fruits contain cyanide and are toxic to birds. 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 plums on a bird table or at another bird feeder area, be sure to de-stone the fruits first.
Are Plums Good for Birds?
Plums are a great, natural food source for many bird species, and providing some is a great way to ensure that the birds who share your space get a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet.
How To Grow Plums Yourself and for Garden Birds
The best way to provide plums for wild birds is by growing a plum tree, or plum trees, in your garden and remaining relaxed about birds pecking the ripe fruit before you get to them.
Plum trees can also benefit an organic garden above and beyond just providing the fruits. Plum trees also help by attracting various insect species that many birds like to eat. And they help increase the biodiversity in your backyard.
If you are thinking about growing a plum tree to provide plums for you, your family, and your feathered friends, then there are several options to consider. You might grow:
- American plums – Prunus americana – USDA hardiness zones 3-8
- Sand plums – Prunus angustifolia – USDA hardiness zones 5-9
- European plums – Prunus domestica – USDA hardiness zones 4-9
- Or several different types of Asian plums, for example.
No matter which type of plum you choose to grow, this can be a great choice for you, your family, and the birds that might get a share of the fruits.
How To Feed Plums to Birds in Your Garden
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 in your area.
However, whether you grow your own or buy organic plums from local producers, you might also de-stone and cut up plums and leave them out in your garden for the local birds to enjoy.
You can also consider stringing plum portions or other fruit pieces on a line of natural twine and hanging these somewhere in your garden.
This keeps the food safe from pests and gives birds a chance to eat, where they are less likely to fall prey to predator attacks.
Can Birds Have Canned Plums or Plum Juice?
If you can use your own plums or plum juice at home, leftovers can be left out for the birds, but remember that if you have used sugar in a recipe, they should only 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 plums on their own, either in portions or a little juice, and will also need to ensure that no harmful additional ingredients have been added.
Can Birds Have Plum Jam/ Jelly?
A homemade plum jam or jelly can be left out for garden birds in small amounts and in such a way that it can be accessed without birds falling in or getting it on their feathers.
However, remember that such sugary treats should only be given occasionally, not regularly, or in very large amounts.
Can Birds Have Dried Plums/ Prunes?
You can also feed prunes in moderation. If you soak these to rehydrate them, they will be more appealing to a wider range of birds.
However, it is important to note that you should only feed plums you have dried yourself at home and not commercially dried plums, which often contain harmful preservatives like sulfur dioxide that can threaten birds even in small amounts.