What do birds eat?

It depends on the bird and the time of the year. Some eat seeds, berries, fruit, insects, other birds, eggs, small mammals, fish, buds, larvae, aquatic invertebrates, acorns and other nuts, aquatic vegetation, grain, dead animals, garbage, and much more…

During the spring and summer months, most songbirds eat mainly insects and spiders. Insects are easy to find and catch, and are very nutritious. During fall and winter, however, birds that don’t migrate must eat fruits and seeds to survive.

Did you know?
Cedar Waxwings can become drunk (and may even die from alcohol intoxication) after eating fermented fruit in the spring.

It’s great fun to feed birds. Even in cities you may be able to attract birds to your home or apartment by feeding them. In urban areas we recommend tube feeders filled with black-oil sunflower seed (these seeds attract the greatest number of species, are nutritious, high in fat, and their small size and thin shells make them easy for small birds to handle and crack). Another favorite is nyger seed (this seed is expensive — so feed it in a special nyger feeder so it is not wasted). This seed attracts finches.

If rodents are a problem in your neighborhood make sure that you clean-up any spilled seeds from the feeders. Place your feeders within three feet of a window (or more than 30 feet away) to reduce the number of birds that die from hitting your windows.

If you are not allowed to have feeders in your apartment building, try a natural bird feeder. Plant seed bearing plants like dwarf sunflowers, cosmos, and asters in pots (or any container that holds some soil and has holes in the bottom for drainage) and provide bright red or orange tubular flowers for hummingbirds. Learn more about feeding birds the “natural way.”

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