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.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why Feeding Birds in Spring Can Be Helpful

While I love my winter birds, I can’t wait for some of the spring and summer birds to arrive; Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, wrens, hummingbirds, orioles, Song and Chipping Sparrows to name just a few. Soon the American Goldfinches will also be molting their drab winter coat in exchange for a sunny yellow one.

Spring is the hardest time for birds to find food as many prime food sources are depleted. Bird feeders provide an easy source for birds after a long winter or arduous migration. Many birds migrating to their nesting grounds may see yards with lots of bird activity a safe stop-over point. The numbers and variety of birds appearing in your yard can actually change every morning as species such as warblers, vireos, tanagers, gnatcatchers, kinglets and sparrows all migrate north.

Photo from wikimedia commons
In the spring, birds have a long “to-do” list and a short time to accomplish it. They claim territory, seek out mates, build nests and begin to raise their young. With so many birds arriving there’s a lot of competition. Offering foods makes everything a little easier to accomplish.

Birds that have survived winter in good health are best suited for getting reproduction going as soon as possible. A wide variety of studies have shown that providing supplemental foods permits birds to begin reproduction earlier with better success. The additional food helps them have more eggs per nest, bigger eggs, better hatchability, faster nestling growth, and lower nestling mortality. Feeding is especially helpful in years when storms and other natural disasters happen.

Backyard bird watchers can enjoy a variety of birds up close and wait eagerly for the new babies to arrive at the feeders and baths. In the summer, even if there is a lot of food available for birds, believe me, energy requirements are high when you have many mouths to feed and sometimes they just appreciate a night out at the feeders.

Related Articles:
- Average dates for birds return to Michigan the in Spring? http://bit.ly/IMYNQe
- When is bird migration over? http://bit.ly/IMZ7OQ
- Stop birds from attacking the windows http://goo.gl/5CnGCo
- How to prevent bird window strikes http://goo.gl/2iSOoC
- What to know about feeding birds in the spring http://bit.ly/I5s6h9

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