Pomegranates are fascinating fruits that can be great for our health. But are they also good for birds to eat? You might be wondering whether you can feed pomegranate fruits or pomegranate seeds to your pet birds or wild birds visiting your garden.
The truth is that you certainly can. Birds eat these fruits and their seeds from time to time in their native ranges. Though pomegranates are not part of the natural diet of native birds, nor of most birds kept as pets, they can still be a much-loved and healthy addition to their diet when offered in moderation.
Do Birds Eat Pomegranate Fruit?
Since the pomegranate is not a native fruit, it is not a natural food source for wild native birds in the United States. However, many birds will still eat pomegranate if they come upon this food source when it is grown or left out in your backyard.
Pet birds will also eat this amazing fruit when it is offered as a part of their diet and seem to enjoy doing so. Pomegranate is a good source that parrots and other pet birds will love.
The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is native to South-Eastern Europe, East Asia, and the Himalayas.
However, it is commonly grown within warmer climate regions of the United States and elsewhere (USDA zones 8-12) – and can be a valuable food-producing tree in relatively hot and arid regions due to its deep roots and reasonable drought tolerance.
Pomegranates are often used in gardens with lower water levels, as stand-alone trees, or in fruiting hedgerows. Their deep roots also make them helpful in stabilizing banks or slopes and keeping the soil in place.
Though not typically considered a useful food source for wild birds when growing in a garden, if you grow pomegranates where you live, you might find that backyard birds will enjoy this tasty treat when you leave it out for them in a feeding area.
Do Birds Eat Pomegranate Seeds?
Of course, if you are familiar with pomegranates, you will know that the fruit’s flesh contains many seeds. Are these seeds safe for birds to consume?
The good news is that pomegranate seeds are perfectly safe for wild and pet birds to consume.
As you may know, some birds eat fruit as a significant part of their diet, and some will only eat fruit occasionally. Seed-eating birds and omnivorous birds will often also eat fruits like pomegranates and will eat the seeds as well as the flesh that surrounds them.
The seed of the pomegranate is soft when fresh and can be eaten raw by birds and people. The softness of the seeds means that they are more easily consumed by a wide range of birds than harder, tougher seeds.
Which Wild Birds Eat Pomegranates?
Though they are not a natural food source, many birds will eat pomegranates. The birds that eat pomegranates include those birds known to consume fruit as a significant portion of their diets, including bluebirds, jays, mockingbirds, orioles, robins, tanagers, thrashers, and woodpeckers.
Many other birds may also take advantage of a fruity snack of pomegranate when it is left out on a bird table, including seed-eating species like finches, or omnivores like sparrows, cardinals, and grosbeaks, for example.
Numerous species will eat pomegranate when it is offered, even if it does not make up a large proportion of their diet.
Are Pomegranates Good For Wild Birds?
The bulk of a wild bird or backyard bird’s diet should always consist of natural food sources. Depending on the bird, this might be a combination of fruits and berries, nectar, seeds, and insects.
However, there is no harm in providing additional food sources to supplement the wild diet, especially during times of the year when there are fewer other food sources around.
Pomegranates are healthy fruit filled with beneficial nutrients that can be helpful for birds and us. While the seeds or pits of some fruits can be toxic to birds, pomegranates don’t pose a risk and can help to provide vitamins and essential nutrients as an additional supplement to a bird’s diet.
Remember, fresh fruits can often be a beneficial source of vitamins and offer the plant sugars that give birds an energy boost. So pomegranate can be useful as an occasional supplement to foraged foods when offered as part of a healthy diet.
Can You Feed Pomegranates to Pet Birds?
Pet birds can also benefit from adding fruit, including pomegranates, to their diet. Parrots and other pet birds will love this succulent fruit’s flesh and seeds and readily consume them – though be warned, they can make quite a mess.
However, as with most food sources, pomegranates should only ever be fed to pet birds in moderation. Fruit should not be the primary energy source for pet birds and should make up no more than around 20% of their regular diet. Like us, birds need a healthy, diverse, well-balanced diet to thrive.
It is a good idea, whichever type of pet bird you have, to think about what the birds would naturally have eaten in the wild. A prepared diet for the bird in question should ideally mimic the bird’s wild diet as close as possible.
Though juicy pomegranates are very healthy, they contain natural sugars, and sugar should only be provided in moderation to avoid health problems for birds. Remember, birds also need protein sources, fresh leafy greens, etc., as part of a well-rounded diet.
How To Provide Pomegranates to Birds
You can scoop out the flesh and seeds of pomegranates and place a small handful on a bird table or at another feeding station. You can also mix them with other food sources like seeds or other fruits.
Most birds will not be able to break through the tough outer skins of the fruits, so you will have to open them to allow access to what lies within.
If you are in an area where you might grow a pomegranate tree in your garden, saving some of your harvests to share as a terrific treat with your feathered friends could be a wonderful thing to do.
Just remember that feeding birds exotic treats is only one way to help them. You can do far more for the birds that share your space by providing them with plenty of natural food sources, shelter, habitat, and water in your garden.
Are Pomegranates the Best Choice for You to Feed to Birds?
If pomegranates don’t grow close to where you live, buying them might not be the best idea.
Remember, trying to live in as sustainable and eco-friendly a way as possible is another way to help the birds and other wildlife. Do the right thing for people and the planet. Cut food miles and shop for local, seasonal produce.
Rather than importing exotic fruits from far away, it would be far better to focus on a variety of food sources that can be grown organically, as locally as possible – better yet, on your property. You will be healthier, our planet will be healthier, and the birds and other wildlife will benefit, too.
Consider native fruit trees and berry bushes suited to cultivation in your particular area and garden. Growing fruit and berries will provide food sources for local birds and you and will do so in a far more sustainable and eco-friendly way.