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, July 12, 2014

Why birds eat so much in the summer

Why are the birds eating twice as much as they usually do right now? - Haslett, MI

Well the easy answer is there is at least twice as many birds out there right now. You'll see a lot of stressed out parent birds are bringing their families up for quick bites. I think it's fascinating to observe how fledglings are taught to forage for food by their parents.

I had one juvenile oriole at the feeder eating jelly, mealworms and suet with such confidence all by himself. Then Daddy shows up and all of a sudden the young one’s wings start fluttering, he pulled himself into a smaller puff ball and begs, “Daddy, Daddy, feed me!”, but that time had passed. Daddy is all about himself right now. He has to eat a lot of high protein foods to produce a new coat of feathers and bulk up for his journey south.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Most birds go through a full molt of their feathers in the late summer. This complicated process requires a lot of energy and may take up to eight weeks to complete. Feathers are made of more than 90% protein, primarily keratins, so every molting bird needs extra proteins to grow strong feathers for proper flight and effective insulation.

For the next few months, offer high-protein bird foods, such as No-Mess blend, Nyjer® (thistle), peanuts, suet and mealworms, to ensure that your birds have a reliable source of protein to help them with growing families and molting.

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Do Birds Go Grey or White Feathered in Old Age? http://bit.ly/rRwSeP
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