Feeding Wild Birds Throughout the Year

Feeding Wild Birds Throughout the Year

  • By Rachel & Landon
  • Jul 31, 2018
Feeding Wild Birds Throughout the Year

Do you always get unlucky attracting wild birds? Here's a few tips to help you set up your bird feeder to get those beautiful birds to your backyard!

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We recommend keeping suet, seeds, and mealworms out for your birds year round. Providing fresh, clean water is a great way to keep them around and add variety. The extra nutrients from various types of foods are beneficial for changing reasons through every season. Below are some reasons why!


Spring

The energy demand of nesting birds increases a great deal during springtime. Birds spend lots of time and energy looking for mates. In addition, they stay busy building nests. Gathering all those materials is hard work! It can take many hundreds, even thousands, of trip to build a nest. Suet is a great source of dense energy during this time, so we recommend keeping a suet feeder out. Sunflower seeds and thistle will bring in birds that don't eat suet, and so will mealworms bring in birds who prefer insects. Consider adding some dried, crushed eggshells mixed in with various types of food. The birds will appreciate the extra calcium when they start laying eggs. It's also a great time to hang your Hummingbird feeders!

If you have a long-haired cat or dog and an extra suet basket begging to be put to use, try stuffing it with some dog or cat hair! Cats and dogs shed the most during spring and fall, so a quick brushing will likely yield enough pet hair to fill a suet basket. Hang it just like you would a feeder.


Summer

Many birds are still nesting and foraging for their dependent chicks in the summertime, and need extra energy and nutrients to keep it up. Mealworms and suet can serve as a replacement energy source where this is the case. Having a concentrated food source cuts down on the distance flown to gather food for the chicks. Put out fruit like halved oranges or apples for migrating Orioles, and keep Hummingbird feeders out!


Fall

Many birds begin their migrations in fall. The birds preparing for their journey south and those passing through will appreciate an easy meal. The birds that will be overwintering need to build up their energy stores as well. Many birds molt in fall, and growing new feathers requires extra energy. Birds will appreciate readily available suet and easy-to-find protein, like dried mealworms. Some birds do more scouting in the fall than they do feeding at the feeders. If you keep food out in the Fall, they are much more likely to return when the going gets tough in Winter.


Winter

This is arguably the most important season to keep supplemental food out for wild birds. Staying warm in the cold requires an incredible amount of energy. Not only does readily available food replace lost energy and nutrients, the act of digestion itself helps keep their body temperature up. When they digest their food, it goes through a fermentation stage, which produces some heat and helps regulate their body temperature. Keeping mealworms and suet out in the winter will allow birds to replenish the nutrients lost during the hardest part of the year. Make sure your feeders are covered and sheltered from snow and ice. Because birds consume more in Winter, it may be a good idea to swap your feeders out for larger ones out of convenience.

Photo Credit: JimGain



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