It’s been a really dry, really hot summer thus far. Early July temps feel like the end of August and everything is already parched! More so than aesthetics, this brutal weather has a profound effect on wildlife, including resourceful birds.
More so than usual, roadkill has been rampant, likely many young venturing further out of normal range in search of food and water. Even wild birds do what they need to in order to keep babies fat & happy.
In all the years of backyard birding, I’ve never seen such activity at feeders in the thick of summer (other than nasty common grackles). Natural food sources have been depleted by drought and high temperatures… even the bugs that bug us at dusk are fewer than usual. Gnats and mosquitoes are not as bad, even the pesky fly may have taken a hiatus!
Because of these conditions, adult birds are taking full advantage of backyard feeders… and any kind at that! An adult cardinal was grabbing seed from a platform feeder and passing it along to his baby on the ground below. An adult thrasher was pecking through squirrel mix on the ground to feed her baby in the back along the tree line. This mama nuthatch took about fifteen trips from our window bird feeders over to the familiar tree where eggs were laid and chicks hatched. Scurrying to feed six newly fledged birds, the bird feeders containing sunflower hearts proved to be most welcome.
If you typically feed wild birds, but don’t think it’s necessary in summer… think again! Lots of babies out there with busy parents in search of food to raise their young. Please feed the birds and always, always offer a fresh water source. As simple as a pan of water, or a saucer from an old garden pot will do the trick just fine.