Do Birds Eat Basil: 6 Relationship Between Birds and Basil

Yes, birds do eat basil. Some bird species, such as finches, sparrows, and chickadees, are known to be particularly fond of basil and will feed on the leaves, flowers, and seeds of the plant.

Birds eating basil can have both positive and negative impacts on the plants themselves. Read on to become a savvy bird feeder, enriching the lives of your feathered visitors in a simple and delightful way.

What is Basil and the Relationship Between Birds and Basil?

Basil is an herb commonly used in cooking and herbal medicine. It is a member of the mint family and has a distinct aroma and flavor that make it popular in a variety of dishes.

Birds and basil have a relationship in that birds can be attracted to basil plants for food and shelter. Birds may feed on the flowers, seeds, and leaves of basil plants, providing them with a source of nutrition. Additionally, birds may nest in the dense foliage of basil plants, using them as a safe haven from predators.

Relationship Between Birds and Basil

Benefits of Feeding Basil to Birds

Birds can benefit from consuming basil in several ways, making it a valuable addition to their diet.

The nutritional value of basil for birds

Basil is a rich source of nutrients that are essential for the health of birds. It contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients are important for maintaining strong bones, healthy feathers, and a strong immune system.

How feeding basil can attract birds to your garden or yard

In addition to its nutritional value, feeding basil to birds can also help attract them to your garden or yard. Many species of birds are attracted to the scent and taste of fresh herbs like basil, and incorporating it into their diet can encourage them to visit and even nest in your yard.

Control pests on basil plants by eating insects

Birds can also help control pests on basil plants by eating insects such as aphids, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. This natural form of pest control can be especially beneficial for those who prefer to avoid using chemical pesticides on their plants.

Basil to Birds

Risks of feeding basil to birds

While basil can provide valuable nutrition and benefits for birds, there are also potential risks to consider when feeding it to them.

Potential toxicity of basil for birds

One of the main risks of feeding basil to birds is its potential toxicity. Certain varieties of basil, such as Thai basil, contain higher levels of essential oils that can be harmful to birds if consumed in large quantities. Birds that consume large amounts of basil, or consume basil that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, may experience digestive upset or other health issues. It is important to research the specific variety of basil and avoid offering it in excessive amounts.

Alter birds behavior

Feeding basil to birds can also potentially alter their natural feeding behavior. If birds become too dependent on a single food source, they may neglect other important sources of nutrition in their diet. This can lead to imbalances in their diet and potential health issues.

Varied Diet for Birds

To avoid these risks, it is important to offer basil to birds in moderation and as part of a varied diet that includes a range of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. Additionally, it is important to observe birds closely for any signs of illness or toxicity if they do consume basil or other herbs.

What types of birds eat basil?

BirdWhat they like about basil
FinchesThe sweet aroma of basil, seeds
SparrowsTasty basil leaves and seeds
HummingbirdsThe sweet scent of basil, nectar from basil flowers
OriolesThe sweet aroma of basil, flowers, and leaves for feeding
ChickadeesA variety of seeds and insects found on basil plants

How do birds eat basil?

Birds eat basil by pecking at the leaves and flowers, or by plucking the seeds from the plant. Some birds, like hummingbirds, may also sip nectar from the basil flowers.

What kind of basil do birds prefer to eat?

Birds are known to enjoy a variety of basil types, but some of their favorites include sweet basil, lemon basil, and Thai basil. These varieties have a strong aroma and flavor that is particularly attractive to birds, and they also produce seeds and flowers that provide additional food sources. Ultimately, birds will eat whatever type of basil is available to them, so planting a variety of types can help attract a diverse range of bird species.

How can I attract birds to my basil plants?

  1. Plant basil in your garden or in a container on your balcony or patio.
  2. Make sure the basil is located in a sunny area with well-draining soil.
  3. Provide a source of water, such as a bird bath or shallow dish of water, near the basil plants.
  4. Avoid using pesticides or insecticides that could harm the birds or their food sources.
  5. Keep the basil plants healthy and well-maintained by pruning them regularly and removing any dead or diseased leaves.
  6. Place bird feeders near the basil plants to provide additional food sources for the birds.
  7. Consider planting other types of plants that are attractive to birds, such as sunflowers, coneflowers, or milkweed.
  8. Be patient and observe the birds as they visit your basil plants. Enjoy watching them and appreciate the beauty they bring to your garden.

How do basil plants benefit from birds eating them?

Birds can benefit basil plants in several ways by eating them:

  1. Pollination – When birds feed on the flowers of basil plants, they inadvertently transfer pollen from one flower to another, helping to fertilize the plant and promote healthy growth.
  2. Pest control – Some birds, such as sparrows and chickadees, feed on insects and other small invertebrates that may be harmful to basil plants. By eating these pests, birds can help control their populations and reduce damage to the basil plants.
  3. Seed dispersal – Birds may also help spread basil seeds by eating them and then depositing them in other areas of your garden. This can help promote new growth and increase the diversity of your basil plants.

How do birds eating basil negatively impact basil crops?

  1. Loss of leaves and flowers – Birds may eat the leaves and flowers of your basil plants, which can reduce the amount of foliage and potentially impact the overall growth and yield of your crop.
  2. Damage to plants – In some cases, birds may peck at the stems or leaves of basil plants, causing damage or even killing the plants.
  3. Competition for resources – Birds may compete with other wildlife, such as bees, for the nectar and pollen produced by your basil plants.


Our exploration into whether birds eat basil reveals that these feathered friends do indeed enjoy this aromatic herb. Adding a dash of basil to your bird feeding routine can not only provide a flavorful treat but also potentially offer some health benefits.

As you experiment with enriching your avian companions’ dining experience, remember to observe their preferences and enjoy the simple joy of connecting with nature through the shared love of basil. Happy bird-watching and happy feeding!


Is basil good for birds?

Basil is generally safe for birds to eat and can even be beneficial for them.

How do I keep birds out of my basil?

If you want to keep birds out of your basil, here are a few tips to try:

1. Use physical barriers – You can cover your basil plants with netting or mesh to prevent birds from accessing the leaves and flowers.
2. Provide alternative food sources – If birds are eating your basil because they are hungry, consider offering them alternative food sources, such as bird feeders or dishes of seed.
3. Try decoys – Some gardeners use fake owls, hawks, or other bird predators as decoys to scare birds away from their plants.
4. Use repellents – There are several bird repellents available on the market that can be sprayed on or around your basil plants to discourage birds from feeding on them.
5. Plant companion plants – Consider planting other types of plants around your basil that birds are less attracted to, such as marigolds or geraniums.

Can Parrots Eat Basil?

Yes, parrots can eat basil. Basil is safe for parrots to consume in moderation and can provide them with a source of nutrition and variety in their diet. However, it’s important to avoid feeding parrots any basil that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, as these can be harmful to birds.

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