Humans eating birdseed?

What would be the effects on a human eating a cupful of commercial birdseed (besides having a strange and perhaps efficient bowel movement the next day?) Any ill effects? Benefits? The only thing I could find was an article about how a guy had been sampling his birds’ food and failed a drug test… Not sure how valid that is, but, now, I’m curious. I’ve tasted my parakeet’s food, but doubt that I could eat enough to notice any effects, whatever they may be.

There are a bunch of different kinds of birdseed, and some of it is stuff that humans do actually routinely eat, like sunflower seeds…

And millet. Really, what’s in birdseed ain’t that much different from what people all over eat.

Sometimes when I open a fresh bag of birdseed, I smell it and think it smells really good.

Of course, I think most of the stuff in typical birdseed is fine for human consumption. People regularly eat sunflower seeds; niger seed produces an edible oil and is used in some Indian recipes and as a spice; looks like millet is also a grain consumed by humans, as well as safflower and of course corn.

I have no idea if any of those things would show up as a drug on a drug test, but I kind of doubt it. Sounds like an excuse to me, maybe he thought poppyseeds are in birdseed, and quickly made up the birdseed excuse? (Poppyseeds, which can cause false positives on drug tests)

But if it’s sold as ‘birdseed’ it probably hasn’t been prepared in the conditions, and to the standards, required for food for human consumption.

From here:

Nearly all of these grains and seeds are common human foods, so humans wouldn’t have much problem with it, especially if you cooked it.

Hemp (marijuana) seeds were at one time a common component in bird seed, but are no longer used in the US. The THC in commercial hemp seeds is pretty small, so it’s fairly unlikely that ingesting them would cause failure of a drug test.

My parents liked to feed birds. I’d eat a few pieces when I was a kid. Not bad. It’s a lot like stuff they put on sushi.

I think it would be OK as long as the end product of said bowel movements is correctly disposed of in the toilet.

If, however, humans started flying over my garden and dropping their shit on my lily border, I envisage spending all my spare time getting rid of the resulting weeds.

Thinking about this again, I’m not in favour of the idea. In fact, I wish you hadn’t mentioned it.

I buy a product called “wild bird seed” which has nothing I haven’t eaten somewhere at some time. I planted some in the garden and apparently all the varieties of seed sprouted so they had not been treated seriously, if at all.

I can’t think of a single seed in common bird food that is poisonous. The only problem would be molds, insects and other detritus that shows up in bird seed.

I would think the much of the fiber would pass through the body undigested.

That would be my fear with birdseed.

We’re doing a new show on Animal Planet and are looking people with animal behaviors.
One of the topics is eating pet food or eating like a pet.
Please email if you’d like to talk about it!


How timely. Last weekend, out of idle curiosity, I ground up a quantity of mixed budgie seed and used it to make some cookies. Tasted like porridge.

I’ve sampled my bird’s food on occasion. It tastes a little soapy for my tastes but they love it.

I have fond memories of sitting sideways at in a horse trough at sunset, sharing dinner with the ponies at the riding school - picking the molasses-y sunflower seeds out of their mixed feed. Mmm.


And so, the list of things still left to eat becomes ever smaller.