Is it bad to feed backyard birds?
Most people find it quite comfortable watching birds from their home.
And it’s getting common that most people feed birds in their own backyards. There are over 50 millions people feeding birds in their backyard, according to the data provided by the US fish and wildlife service. Here comes the most common question, is it bad to feed the backyard birds? Will the human intervention affect the behavior pattern of those birds?
Is this massive annual experiment in supplementary feeding affecting our continent’s bird populations?
Well, let’s take the example of regular feeder visitor and sporadically visitor.
Red-bellied woodpeckers and north cardinals are regular feeder visitors in our garden. From the data we collect, It’s for sure that they’re growing population and expanding ranges. As for Pinyon Jays visit bird feeders occasionally, however, they’re showing declines on population.
Therefore, we could bring up the conclusion that species that visit bird feeders a lot tend to be doing very well.
There’re some negative impact of feeding birds. It has detrimental impact on the bird population, which causes a whole host of problems for wild birds and the environment. There’s a worry that our intervention can cause them to stray from their natural habits and ignore their instincts and instead rely on the easy answer we’ve provided.Well, it this true?
Birds spend most of its days on finding food and always look around to escape danger. Food on the bird seeders are part of their food source, and it will not impact a lot on their behavior. When it’s time for them to fly south, they will still go south, not sticking around the bird feeder.
Should we feed birds the whole year around?
Birds don’t need us feeding at the summer, because there’re lots of natural food they could easy find during summer time. But it will be helpful if feed birds when they need more energy, under situation like extreme temperature, migration, late-winter and early spring. In which, there is not enough natural food out there. Feeding birds during those harsh situation will be helpful to enhance the rate that birds could survive.
Where to place the bird feeder
Birds will be more comfortable and would like to come to your feeder if they feed safe and far away from predator. Please note that the bird feeder should be safe from the free roaming cats. Keep it 12 ft from the brush pile, and birds will know there’s no way for predators to hide.
To avoiding birds colliding the window, Please keep the bird feeders within 3 feet of a window or more 10 feet away.
What bird food should I offer
There’s difference on the food in winter and the other season.
Birds need more energy in the winter. Therefore, bird food offered in the winter should be in high protein.
Black-oil sunflower seed: It’s high in fat, and provides energy to birds. As it’s small and thin-shelled, easy for small birds to crack open. Most birds would prefer black-oil sunflower seed.
White proso Millet: White proso millet is slightly sweet and high in protein, many ground-feeding birds like millet. Millet is a great choice to mix with other seeds, which will help attract a diversity of birds.
Peanut heart: Peanut hearts are nutritious food for birds. They are rich in oils and fats, provide a reliable energy source for birds in winter.
Suet cake: Suet cake is made with store-bought lard, providing high proportion of animal fat can melt at high temperature.
Nyjer seed: Nyjer is high in oil, which is nutritious energy source to backyard birds.
It usually put in a tube feeder within tiny holes to keep the seeds from spilling out.
Are any human food unsafe to feed birds
It’s common to see that people feed birds with whatever they have at hands, like bread, table scraps. However, most human food should not be offered to birds, because they could neither provide the nutritious birds need nor healthy to birds.
Bread: Bread is the most common food in our daily life. Though bread is made of wheat, it should not feed birds with bread. Because heavily processed food is not healthy to birds in the long run. It offer zero calorie but it make birds feel full quickly and they will skip the real nutritious food.
Chocolate: Birds can not eat chocolate, it’s highly toxic to birds, just as it is to dogs and cats. Because it contains theobromine.
Table scraps: Feeding birds with table scraps is a way to keep your food from wasting. However, you need to feed table scraps to backyard birds in an amount that they can eat in a single day. Otherwise it will attract rats.
How do I choose a bird feeder
There are many types of bird feeders on the market. Various birds have their preference on different levels. Please keep in mind when you make a decision on those feeders.
- Please choose those are easier to clean, like plastic, steel or glass feeder. Wood or clay are a bit difficult to clean up. Keeping the feeders clean will be able to prevent disease transmission among birds.
- Small feeder empty quickly, which will be able to keep seed from getting wet or spoiled. But you need to fill up the feeder frequently.
- Please set up more than one feeder in your garden, and ensure ample space between them to avoid bird crowding. It will be helpful to attract various bird species
Those are some advice to transform your backyard into a a backyard bird habitat, from which, birds could safely and reliably find the foods they need to stay happy and healthy.
Well, Is feeding birds the best gift you can give them? Maybe not, but it might be the best gift we can give ourselves. It provides a great opportunity to us connecting with nature from our comfortable home.