Updated at: 18-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

It’s no surprise that you want to know if you can feed wild birds walnuts; peanuts are so widely used as bird food that you might be surprised to learn that you wouldn’t need a nut feeder if you did.

It’s reasonable to claim that wild birds will eat walnuts if you crack open the nut and feed them the meat without the shell or any other additives. Like other nuts, walnuts are an excellent source of protein for birds who consume their seeds and kernels. Texture is soft and pleasant to wild birds but is easily crushed.

Can Birds Eat Walnuts

There are at least 30 typical backyard birds that could benefit from eating walnuts if they were made available outside of the nut’s nearly indestructible, extremely tough shell.

It’s not uncommon to observe birds like Chickadees and Jays eating peanuts straight from the shell. However, these same birds would have no luck cracking open a walnut shell.

Walnuts, in their complete form, placed atop an easily accessible platform bird feeder or dish in a prominent location in the yard, will be appreciated by ground-feeding birds such as common Blue Jays or Steller’s Jays.

While other species that can utilize bird feeders, such warblers, titmice, chickadees, wrens, and woodpeckers, would look for crushed-up walnuts placed in a prominent but open location, such as a railing, tree branch, or fence top.

In contrast to the nutcracker, the woodpecker is more likely to pass on your walnuts, whether whole or crushed.

If you want to avoid using whole walnuts in feeders, you can place smashed up walnuts on the outer tray of a matching peanut or seed bird feeder.

If you must use walnuts in a bird feeder, make sure they are still whole but not in their shells. If you place a few walnuts in a wire mesh peanut feeder, they will be devoured in no time.

Birds can eat Walnuts out of shell

Can Birds Eat Walnuts-2

There will be plenty of birds around to eat your walnuts, if you are willing to shell them first.

But birds like sparrows, cardinals, grosbeaks, and finches have small, cone-shaped bills that can crack even the toughest nut or seed shells.

All nuts readily available to humans are probably safe for birds to eat.

The nuts that our feathered friends eat at our feeders are often peanuts that have been removed from their shells, or a pile of nuts can be given on a level platform, or nuts can be added to a dish so that birds that can’t use bird feeders can still enjoy their flavorful nuts.

Offering walnuts to birds that normally eat peanuts is not dissimilar, except that you can’t rely on a bird feeder because the walnuts will decay before the birds eat them.

Because of their similarities to walnuts in terms of texture, flavor, and appearance, pecans can be fed to wild birds in the same manner.

If you want to make sure all of your walnuts get eaten before they go bad, it’s not a good idea to offer them to the birds on their own, whether whole or crushed up.

Unsalted shelled Walnuts safe

However, it’s easy to forget that wild birds can’t eat salt, which poses a severe health risk when people feed it to them along with nuts like cashews and peanuts.

Since walnuts cannot be salted or roasted while still in their shell, you don’t have to worry about the salt content when using unsalted walnuts from the supermarket.

If you want to attract wild birds to your yard, walnuts are a good option since once the birds crack the hull open, the nuts are ready to eat.

Be cautious when serving wild birds walnuts that have been deshelled and packaged in a regular or whole foods size container.

Since walnuts are part of a healthy, well-rounded diet, they will most likely be offered to consumers in an unsalted form. Whereas, normal walnuts may include salt and other substances that are harmful to birds.

Protect the health of the birds that frequent your garden by giving them only raw, unsalted walnuts that have not been toasted.

Because of the high likelihood that walnuts and other nuts in a mixed fruit and nut package may be salted, it is essential that you never feed them to your birds in such a package.

Soft Walnut texture is pleasing to birds

Can Birds Eat Walnuts-3

As a softer nut than peanuts, the modest walnut may attract more wild birds as a source of food.

Birds can easily crack open softer nuts like peanuts, cashews, pistachios, and even Macadamias. Only a walnut’s smooth, pleasing texture makes it easier for birds to chew.

Even while it takes some time for birds to switch to walnuts from peanuts, you might be surprised by how readily many species of backyard birds will eat walnuts once they become accustomed to them.

Birds can be seen using their beaks to crack open peanuts and other nuts when they are removed from a feeder or when they are provided with nuts on a tray.

You probably don’t want the birds to waste your money by feeding them to them, especially because walnuts are a bit more expensive.

Therefore, until the birds become accustomed to the feeder, it is best to serve only a modest amount of peanuts, preferably smashed up. Although some birds may eat whole walnuts, the vast majority will be wasted because they will be broken up before being swallowed.

Lightly crushed in tray

Soft walnuts can be left whole, and many birds enjoy biting into them, but birds will fare better if the large nut is cracked.

Crushing walnuts for bird seed is as easy as grabbing a few and pounding them in your fist or wrapping them in a towel and banging them against the bottom of a pan.

If you want walnut pieces that are easy to chew, not nut crumbs that will fly away in the wind, then there’s no need to go crazy.

It is unnecessary to crush the walnuts into crumbs because birds prefer to pick up whole pieces in their bills and chew on them.

Crushed walnuts can now be stored in an open dish or on a bird feeder pole-mounted tray without worrying about the tiny pieces falling through the mesh wires.

Getting birds’ attention may still require a combination of whole and crushed walnuts, peanuts, and a seed blend.

It is especially important to provide our wild birds with more nut offerings in the winter because, like all nuts, walnuts are a fantastic source of energy.


Fewer than four bird species can open a particularly hard walnut shell, yet all of them will happily eat your walnuts if you feed them to them out of the shell. However, most birds in a suburban backyard aren’t going to bother with the nut at all, let alone a nut that’s still in its shell.

If you want to help the birds out, crack open some walnuts and remove the meat, but be sure to throw away the shell pieces because they could cause suffocation if swallowed.

When feeding wild birds walnuts straight from the shell, you know for sure that the nuts haven’t been salted, roasted, or coated in any way. Since salt is poisonous to birds, we must ensure they never eat anything with salt in it.

Among the many benefits of feeding birds walnuts is the fact that the birds will be pleasantly surprised by the nut’s silky feel.

You can attract birds to your yard by leaving out a dish of walnuts—both crushed and whole—in a spot that is exposed to the elements and frequented by birds.

It is true that birds will eat walnuts from a feeder if you put them out in your yard. If you want to make sure the walnuts don’t go forgotten, it’s best to put them in a dish with a mixture of other nuts and seeds rather than just putting them on a railing, tray, or open platform feeder.

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