Pineapple is a very healthy option for wild birds. It contains a variety of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that are crucial to the overall health of a bird. Always opt for fresh pineapple over canned as excess sweeteners can be detrimental to a bird’s health.
What You'll Learn
Fresh fruit is an important part of a bird’s overall diet, and pineapple is no exception. From boosting the immune system to helping with digestion, pineapple is a bird superfood that should not be overlooked.
Fresh Pineapple Vs. Canned
Pineapples can be bought fresh, dried, canned, or as juice. Not all forms are equal when it comes to feeding birds.
When feeding juicy pineapple to a bird, especially a wild bird, always choose fresh over canned. While some domestic birds can have moderate amounts of canned pineapple occasionally (and even then, it should be rinsed with water before serving), fresh is considered the gold standard.
We also recommend avoiding canned pineapple because it contains artificial sugars that birds would never encounter in the wild.
The preservative syrup that many canned pineapples are stored in results in a significantly higher sugar level than fresh.
Commercially produced pineapple juice also contains dangerous levels of sugar and artificial ingredients while providing little-to-no nutritional value, so once again, be sure to stick to fresh. Excess sugar is unhealthy for birds and will negate any benefits they would otherwise get from eating the pineapple.
Unsweetened dried pineapple is also a safe option that provides some nutritional value while also serving as an excellent source of dietary fiber. Still, it does not offer the same amount of hydration as fresh pineapple.
It’s important not to allow too much fructose in the bird’s diet as they age. For this reason, fruits like pineapple may need to be reduced later in life.
What Parts of the Pineapple Can Birds Eat?
Birds can eat any part of the pineapple they find appealing. Fresh pineapple should be skinned and cut into small pieces before being fed to a bird. Don’t worry, it’s not toxic for birds to eat the skin, which is actually an excellent source of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. However, it can be difficult to digest, so keep that in mind.
It may be best to keep the skin at a minimum to reap some of its nutritional benefits while avoiding digestive upset. Feeding a bird small amounts of pineapple skin in moderation should not cause a problem.
The core is also nutrient dense, but birds may not like it since it’s bitter and not as tasty as the outer fruit. They may find the core more palatable when cut into tiny pieces and mixed with other types of bird food.
You may also find that birds enjoy nibbling at pineapple leaves which are just as rich in antioxidants as the rest of the fruit.
Benefits of Pineapples For Birds
Pineapples are rich in vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants that help keep birds healthy. This includes bromelain and other digestive enzymes, Vitamin C, potassium, manganese, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.
Pineapples are a great source of the proteolytic enzyme bromelain. Bromelain is especially beneficial thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, which give birds an immunity boost.
Vitamin C also boosts immunity, and both vitamin C and bromelain help accelerate healing and contribute to better digestion.
Dietary fiber and other digestive enzymes play an important role in good digestion. The trace mineral manganese helps contribute to bone strength, as does vitamin C.
Potassium is not only an important electrolyte, but a natural way to reduce blood pressure and regulate the heart muscle.
The multiple antioxidants found in pineapple are beneficial for a bird’s immune system and help cellular health by staving off free radicals, which can prevent cancer.
The beta carotene in pineapple gets converted to vitamin A, which supports a bird’s cardiovascular health, eye health, hearing, and bone strength.
Carotenoids like beta carotene also play a role in the color and vibrance of a bird’s plumage, contributing to the deep yellows, oranges, and greens seen in many tropical bird species.
Feeding Tips – How to Best Feed Pineapple to a Wild Bird
Fruit at the Feeding Station
Pineapples should be cut into small chunks to make it easier for birds to break down and swallow. This also provides portion control, which prevents them from overeating. Cutting into the pineapple releases some of the sweet smell of the fruit, which can help attract the birds to it.
Placing pineapple pieces on the feeding platform or tray makes for an easy and tasty addition to your regular bird feeder offerings.
You may find that this juicy treat attracts new types of birds in addition to those you typically see, but don’t lose sight of the fact that it could attract unwanted wildlife as well.
If you want to avoid unexpected visits from squirrels, raccoons, possums, and other hungry critters, remove any uneaten pineapple, especially before it rots or grows mold.
Be sure to regularly clean the feeder. If birds don’t eat fresh fruit within a few hours, throw it out. This will not only prevent visitors from intruding on your bird feeding station, but it will also prevent the birds from falling ill by eating spoiled food.
Moderation is key to feeding birds fruit, including pineapple. While the beneficial elements of pineapple can be a boon to a bird’s health, too much of a good thing can tip the scales in the wrong direction.
Pineapple is high in sugar and acids, so overfeeding can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues. Therefore, pineapple should be offered in moderation as a treat or as part of a balanced diet, rather than making it a primary source of nutrition.
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I am Bryan Powell and I own BirdHour.com. I love bird watching; in fact, I have a parakeet of my own. I enjoy spending time outdoors and observing the natural world around me. This website is a means of sharing my passion for birds with others who may be interested in this activity.