Have you heard that before? After feeding wild birds for the past 25 years or so – to this day – I still don’t comprehend the statement! It’s up there with dumping the birdbath, turning it over, and rendering it useless through winter!
Sure, natural food sources are usually plentiful through summer… except when temps are reaching and exceeding 105° in most parts of the country, and for days on end! Food sources deplete, disappear, nada, zilch, even mosquitoes at dusk are rarer than in early June. So what’s the big deal? Babies! Parents are scurrying to feed nestlings and fledgelings through a critical growth stage, and in weather that’s just not normal.
Bird feeders have been jam-packed for the last two weeks, we’re going through seed, suet and worms like water! A platform with sunflower heart & peanut mix sees tons of cardinals, jays, nuthatches and titmice. More common with bluebirds, for the first time I witnessed a male cardinal feeding a fledgeling on the ground… from this feeder! Mealworm feeders for bluebirds, with Carolina wrens and thrashers sneaking a few turns, and nyjer seed for finch feeders which have seen hundreds of the electric yellow little birds better known as goldfinches. They actually have the latest nesting season, while Eastern bluebirds are still going strong on their second and third broods. Babies, babies, babies!
So no… you don’t really have to feed the birds through summer, but why wouldn’t you? Lot of babies out there and food sources are becoming quite scarce. Consider setting out a saucer or shallow bowl of water too. Birds will flock to it, more so than the feeders in this heat! Several of our baths are nothing more than large plant saucers on old tree stumps, on the ground, and on the deck. They’re the place to be seen if you’re a bird!
Oh yeah.. and the birdbath thing in winter: That’s why they make bath heaters! Water is essential to life, birds need water in winter, it’s critical even in frigid temps because most of their usual sources (shallow ponds, puddles) freeze over. “Oh, they can just eat snow.” Well, sure they can, but it takes a heck of a lot energy (calories) to convert that snow to water. Help wild birds thrive year-round with wildlife-friendly habitat that makes life better. They’ll make your life more colorfu and interesting too… and that’s a promise!