What Birds Eat Apples? (Hint: Colorful Birds Love Apples)

Apples are a popular fruit not only for humans but also for various bird species. These feathered friends enjoy snacking on apples as part of their diverse diet. Offering apples as a treat can attract a wide range of birds to your backyard and provide them with a healthy, natural food source.

Birds like house finches, bluebirds, and many others choose apples for their crunchy texture and tasty juice. Some birds eat the entire apple, while others prefer to consume only the fruit’s juicy flesh. Providing apples can not only enhance your birdwatching experience but also support the birds’ health and dietary needs.

It is essential to be mindful of potential risks when offering apples to birds. Always remove apple seeds, which contain small amounts of cyanide, and peel the apples to eliminate potential pesticide residues. By taking these precautions, you can safely attract birds to your garden and observe them enjoying this popular fruit.

Key Takeaways

  • Apples are a favored fruit by many bird species and can be offered as a treat in your backyard.
  • Peel apples and remove seeds before serving them to ensure the birds’ safety and health.
  • Offering apples can attract a variety of bird species and enhance your birdwatching experience.

Birds that Eat Apples

Apples are a popular and nutritious fruit choice for many bird species, as they provide a natural source of food high in vitamins and minerals. In this section, we will discuss various bird species that are known to enjoy feasting on apples.

Read Next: Which Birds Eat Blueberries?

American Robin

The American Robin is a common bird that enjoys eating apples, especially those that have fallen to the ground. These colorful birds can be seen hopping and foraging in yards and gardens, particularly during the late summer and early autumn when apples are ripe and abundant.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwings are another species that relish apples. These attractive birds are often seen in small flocks, perching on branches or shrubs near apple trees. They feast on the fruit, consuming both the flesh and the juice, providing them with nourishment and energy.


Bluebirds, including the Eastern Bluebird and Mountain Bluebird, are attracted to apples as well. These vibrant birds appreciate the soft, sweet, and easily digestible fruit, making it an excellent addition to their diet.


Cardinals are known to enjoy various fruit types, with apples being among their favorites. These striking birds can occasionally be seen in gardens and yards, munching on apple slices or small chunks placed in bird feeders.


Tanagers, such as the Scarlet Tanager and Summer Tanager, are fruit-eating birds that enjoy feeding on apples. They can be found in wooded areas, usually high up in the tree canopy, where they snatch the fruit and consume it with delight.


Orioles, like the Baltimore Oriole and Orchard Oriole, are fans of apple slices. Providing sliced apples in your yard or bird feeder is a great way to attract these bright and beautiful birds for observation and enjoyment.


Jays, such as the Blue Jay and Steller’s Jay, can also be seen consuming apples. They may carry the fruit off to a safe location where they can peck at it leisurely, enjoying the sweet meal.


Some species of sparrows show interest in apples, particularly when the fruit is cut up and made more accessible to these small birds. Sparrows benefit from the nutrients found in apples, helping them maintain their overall health.


Woodpeckers, including the Northern Flicker and Red-bellied Woodpecker, have been observed eating apples. The softness of the fruit makes it an easy and enjoyable meal for these birds, allowing them to fuel up for their constant pecking and drilling.

By providing apples and other fruits in your backyard, you can attract a variety of bird species and enjoy their presence, all while offering them a nutritious and natural food source.

Why Birds Eat Apples


Apples are a great addition to a bird’s diet, as they provide essential nutrients that support their health and well-being. These nutritious fruits are packed with energy sources

Attracting Birds by Offering Apples

Apples for Birds

Apples are a fantastic fruit to offer in your backyard to attract a variety of bird species, particularly orioles, robins, and bluebirds. These birds enjoy feasting on the sweet and nutritious treat that apples provide. Slice apples into thin wedges to make them easily accessible for the birds. This simple addition to your backyard feeder can help entice many colorful visitors.

Feeder Types

When choosing a bird feeder to hold apples, consider one with a platform or fruit spike design. Platform feeders provide ample space for the apple wedges to be spread out, allowing multiple birds to feed at once. Fruit spike feeders, on the other hand, secure the apple in place, preventing it from falling or rolling away as the birds peck at the fruit. Both options are ideal for birds like orioles, robins, and bluebirds who love savoring apples.

Where to Place Apples

To maximize the number of birds you attract with apples, consider the placement of the feeder in your backyard. Position it near natural shelters like trees or bushes, where birds can quickly retreat to safety if they feel threatened. Additionally, avoid placing the feeder too close to windows to prevent bird collisions. It’s also helpful to keep the feeder away from high-activity areas and any potential predators like cats. By providing a safe and accessible space for the birds to enjoy apples, you can make your backyard a favorite spot for orioles, robins, and bluebirds.

Fruits as Alternatives to Apples

Birds enjoy various fruits as part of their diets, offering both nutritional benefits and a tasty treat. While apples are popular among many bird species, exploring other fruits can attract a diverse range of birds.


Berries are a favorite among many backyard birds and satisfy their need for nutritional variety. Consider offering elderberries, mulberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Northern cardinals and gray catbirds are two species that enjoy berry offerings.


Birds like the eastern bluebird, pine grosbeak, and northern cardinal also go bananas for bananas. Peeling and cutting the fruit in half lengthwise makes it easier for birds to consume.


Cherries are another welcome fruit for birds like the American robin, cedar waxwing, and red-bellied woodpecker. Both sweet and sour cherries work well as an alternative to apples.


Plums are a juicy fruit that attracts numerous bird species, including orioles, blue jays, and grosbeaks. Ensure the fruit is ripe and easy for birds to eat.


Cranberries are a natural option with antioxidant properties, making them a healthy choice for birds. Orioles, thrushes, and many other species enjoy these tart additions to their diets.


Strawberries are both sweet and nutritious, making them an appealing choice for numerous bird species. Eastern bluebirds, waxwings, and mockingbirds are just a few examples of winged friends you may attract with these ruby-red treats.


Offering raspberries as bird food attracts species like northern cardinals and gray catbirds. Full of vitamins and minerals, these berries can provide an enjoyable alternative to apples.


Blackberries are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants that benefit birds. Orioles, warblers, and thrashers are likely to appreciate a blackberry snack.


As an abundant source of vitamins and minerals, elderberries serve as a beneficial addition to the birds’ diet. Gray catbirds, among other species, are particularly fond of these tiny purple berries.


Mulberries offer high levels of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C. Birds like the American robin and cedar waxwing will savor these sweet treats, making them an ideal alternative to apples. Satisfying birds’ fruit cravings can help attract a wide range of species and contribute to the overall health and happiness of your backyard visitors.

Precautions When Offering Apples to Birds

Avoiding Potential Dangers

When providing apples to birds, it’s essential to bear in mind the potential dangers that may arise. One possible hazard is the apple seeds, which contain a small amount of a toxic substance called amygdalin. While the levels in seeds are generally harmless to humans, it’s best to remove the seeds and core before offering apples to birds to eliminate any risk of toxicity.

Additionally, if you’re sourcing apples from your own apple trees or other fruit trees, be sure they haven’t been sprayed with any harmful pesticides. Since birds are sensitive to chemicals, ingesting pesticide-laden fruits could cause health problems for them.

Appropriate Portions

To prevent overfeeding and ensure that apples are a beneficial addition to a bird’s diet, it’s important to offer appropriate portions. While birds can consume the apple skin and flesh, remember that apples should only supplement their diet and should not be their primary food source.

Offering small, chopped pieces of apple in a clean bird feeder or scattered on a platform is an effective way to provide birds with a nutritious treat without overwhelming them. Regularly monitor consumption and adjust the portions as needed to ensure that birds receive a balanced diet.

Fresh Fruits and Cleanliness

It’s essential to only provide birds with fresh apples, as rotten or moldy fruits can harm them. Be sure to throw away any leftover apple pieces to maintain cleanliness and prevent the spread of bacteria and diseases.

When offering apples or other fruits to birds, wash them thoroughly beforehand, especially if they’re not organically grown. This helps remove residues, dirt, and potential pesticides. Additionally, it’s crucial to regularly clean bird feeders and platforms, ensuring that the area remains safe and sanitary for the birds.

By taking these precautions when offering apples to birds, you’ll provide them with a nutritious treat while keeping them safe and healthy.

Other Foods Attractive to Birds

Birds have a diverse diet, and offering various types of food can attract a wide range of bird species to your backyard. In this section, we will explore a variety of foods that are appealing to birds beyond apples.


Suet is a popular food for many birds, including woodpeckers, wrens, and starlings. Made from rendered animal fat, it provides essential energy, especially during colder months. Suet can be offered in various forms, such as cakes, balls, or plugs, and is often combined with seeds, nuts, or fruit pieces.


Grape jelly is a favorite treat for birds like the eastern bluebird and Northern flicker. Offering small, shallow dishes of jelly can attract these birds to your backyard. Other fruit jellies, such as those made from raspberries or blackberries, can also be offered to birds.

Nectarines and Peaches

Soft fruits like nectarines and peaches are enjoyed by various bird species, including brown thrashers and northern cardinals. These fruits can be sliced or simply halved and placed on a platform feeder or in a mesh fruit feeder.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are staples in many birds’ diets, including towhees, northern flickers, and blackbirds. Offering a mix of peanuts, sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds can attract various species to your backyard.

  • Peanuts: Rich in oils and protein, suitable for woodpeckers, jays, and crows.
  • Sunflower seeds: High in fat and protein, popular with cardinals, finches, and chickadees.
  • Safflower seeds: Loved by grosbeaks, doves, and other seed-eating birds.

Grape Jelly

As mentioned earlier, grape jelly can be an enjoyable treat for several bird species. Serve a small portion in shallow dishes or cups to ensure the birds can access it easily. Be sure to choose jelly without artificial sweeteners or additives, as these could be harmful to birds.


Pumpkin flesh, seeds, and even jack-o-lanterns can be a food source for birds such as crows, blackbirds, and starlings. Scattering pumpkin seeds on the ground or placing pieces of pumpkin flesh in a feeder can provide a nutritious treat for these birds.


Worms are an essential food source for many ground-feeding birds like robins, wrens, and Eastern bluebirds. Offering mealworms or earthworms, either alive or dried, can be an excellent way to attract these insect-eating birds to your backyard. A specialized mealworm feeder, or simply a shallow dish, can be used to provide this protein-rich food source.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do birds consume apples in wintertime?

Yes, birds do consume apples in the wintertime. Apples provide an excellent source of nutrients for birds during the colder months when food resources can be scarce. In particular, apples are a good source of fiber for birds, which aids in digestion and helps maintain their overall health.

Which bird species are attracted to fruit and nuts?

There are many bird species attracted to fruits and nuts, including apples. Some of these species include starlings, robins, mockingbirds, cedar waxwings, cardinals, and various types of finches. Offering fruits and nuts in your backyard can attract a wide variety of these fascinating birds and support their nutritional needs.

Are apple peels safe for birds to eat?

Yes, apple peels are safe for birds to eat. They contain important nutrients and fiber that can help support the bird’s digestive health. However, it is essential to wash the apples thoroughly before offering them to birds to remove any pesticide residue or dirt that might be present.

How can apples be prepared for feeding birds?

To prepare apples for feeding birds, first, wash and remove any dirt or pesticide residue. Next, slice the apples into small pieces that are easy for the birds to pick up and consume. Remove the core and seeds, as they can be harmful to birds (more on this below). Finally, place the apple slices on a platform feeder or hang them from a tree branch using a string or mesh bag.

Does the type of apple matter when feeding birds?

No, the type of apple does not generally matter when feeding birds. Birds are likely to be attracted to various apple varieties, including sweet, tart, and juicy options. However, it is still essential to ensure that the apples are clean, fresh, and appropriately prepared before offering them to birds.

Can apple seeds be harmful to birds?

Yes, apple seeds can be harmful to birds. Apple seeds contain a compound called amygdalin, which, when ingested, can release cyanide into their system. While the amount of cyanide in a few apple seeds is unlikely to cause severe harm to birds, it is best to remove the seeds and core from apples before offering them to birds as a precaution.

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