About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why are there more birds at the feeders in the summer?

I know you told me that birds don’t depend on my feeder to survive, but I was just wondering why I see the birds visit my feeder more often in the summer than the winter. To me it would seem winter would be the hardest time to find food naturally. ~ Linden, Michigan

Year-Round Feeding
Many people enjoy feeding songbirds year-round. Those that do may have noticed birds seem to frequent feeders more at certain times of the year. In fact, the most crucial time in the life of many birds may be in the early spring when seeds that occur naturally are scarcer. Unfortunately this is when a lot of people stop feeding.

I think your observation about birds utilizing feeders more in the warmer months is correct. In the spring and summer, birds are very busy. New birds are migrating up to Michigan, choosing territories, mates, and preparing to have young. Females incubating eggs on the nest take advantage of a convenient feeder for a quick bite. Later parents bring young birds to the feeder as a first step into the world. It is fascinating to watch the parents show their young how to pick up the seeds.

Some birds, like the Dark-eyed Juncos and Red-breastedNuthatches leave us in the spring while others like the warblers, orioles and the hummingbirds, are only summer residents in Michigan.

Bird-Feeding Myths
Some people believe that once you start bird feeding, it should be continued. Or that feeding your birds in the summer will make them too lazy, too dependent or keep them from migrating at the appropriate time. All of these old myths have been dispelled by modern research and observation. Bird feeding is a fun and educational hobby. Birds appreciate the food but never become dependent on your feeder unless there is a severe storm that prevents them from foraging.

Backyard bird feeding is an entertaining and educational pastime that can be enjoyed by children and adults. Thank you so much for sharing your observation.

Related Articles: