Can Birds Eat Peanut Butter?

Our bird experts explain if peanut butter is safe for birds and what kind of peanut butter to offer at bird feeders. Plus learn the birds that eat peanut butter.

278086992 1 Kim Dishong Bnb Bypc 2021Courtesy Kim Dishong

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Birds to Eat?

“What type of peanut butter should I feed to birds?” asks Beth Mucci of Swanzey, New Hampshire.

Peanut butter is a good high-protein food for birds, and they can eat any of the same types humans do. If you’re buying it specifically for birds, look for natural or organic types with the fewest additives. Try offering crunchy peanut butter for an extra nutty treat. It’s best to avoid low-fat varieties, which may not have as much nutritional value for the birds.

If you offer peanut butter stuffed into holes in a log-type feeder, be sure to clean it out thoroughly before refilling it so mold won’t grow on the remains of older contents. Learn how to clean bird feeders.

spoon balanced on jar of peanut butterbaibaz/Shutterstock

Did you know it’s a myth that birds will choke on peanut butter? Go ahead and keep it in your homemade suet mix. You can also smear peanut butter on tree bark, or slather pine cones in peanut butter and dip them in bird seed. Woodpeckers, nuthatches and blue jays love to eat peanut butter.

Next, check out 10 foods you aren’t feeding birds yet.

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard. Fascinated with the natural world since the age of 6, Kenn has traveled to observe birds on all seven continents, and has authored or coauthored 14 books about birds and nature, including include seven titles in his own series, Kaufman Field Guides, designed to encourage beginners by making the first steps in nature study as easy as possible. His next book, The Birds That Audubon Missed, is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2024. Kenn is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, and has received the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement award twice. Kimberly is the Executive Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) in northwest Ohio. She became the Education Director in 2005 and Executive Director in 2009. As the Education Director, Kimberly played a key role in building BSBO’s school programs, as well as the highly successful Ohio Young Birders Club, a group for teenagers that has served as a model for youth birding programs. Kimberly is also the co-founder of The Biggest Week In American Birding, the largest birding festival in the U.S. Under Kimberly’s leadership, BSBO developed a birding tourism season in northwest Ohio that brings an annual economic impact of more than $40 million to the local economy. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms Magazine, and coauthor of the Kaufman Field Guides to Nature of New England and Nature of the Midwest. Accolades to her credit include the Chandler Robbins Award, given by the American Birding Association to an individual who has made significant contributions to education and/or bird conservation. In 2017, she received a prestigious Milestone Award from the Toledo Area YWCA. Kimberly serves on the boards of Shores and Islands Ohio and the American Bird Conservancy.
Kirsten Schrader
Kirsten has more than 15 years of experience writing and editing birding and gardening content. As content director of Birds & Blooms, she leads the team of editors and freelance writers sharing tried-and-true advice for nature enthusiasts who love to garden and feed birds in their backyards. Since joining Birds & Blooms 17 years ago, Kirsten has held roles in digital and print, editing direct-to-consumer books, running as many as five magazines at a time, and managing special interest publications. Kirsten has traveled to see amazing North American birds and attended various festivals, including the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, the Rio Grande Bird Festival, The Biggest Week in American Birding Festival, and the Cape May Spring Festival. She has also witnessed the epic sandhill crane migration while on a photography workshop trip to Colorado. Kirsten has participated in several GardenComm and Outdoor Writers Association of America annual conferences and is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. When she's not researching, writing, and editing all things birding and gardening, Kirsten is enjoying the outdoors with her nature-loving family. She and her husband are slowly chipping away at making their small acreage the backyard of their dreams.