Early Spring Is A Critical Time To Feed Birds

Now that winter is over, some people believe that it is not critical any more to feed backyard birds.  Spring goldfinchNothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, this is THE most difficult time for wild birds to find natural food sources like weed seeds, berries, and other fruits.  This is because these sources of food have been gradually used up over the winter by birds and wildlife.   The problem is especially acute in the northern states and high elevation areas of western states.

This means many seed eating birds in particular are having a hard time finding food.  So keeping your birdfeeders filled up can make a big difference to the survival of not just year-round birds but also migrants.

As we all know, spring is a big time for bird migration.  Birds that have been travelling hundreds or thousands of miles need food even more since they are depleting reserves built up in their wintering areas.  These migrating birds will be stopping in your yard looking for feeder food and water.  So again, keeping feeders and baths filled is very important right now.

The best kinds of food to put out are the same that you’ve been using all winter.  Oil and striped sunflower, white millet, hulled sunflower, safflower, peanuts, and Nyjer Thistle are all good right now.  Also, consider putting out suet for not just woodpeckers and nuthatches, but also insect eating birds like warblers, bluebirds, Carolina wrens, and thrashers.

Spring bird feeding is also a great opportunity to see some very unusual migrating visitors in your yard.  So, keep those feeders filled and enjoy the show!


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Cornell Lab of Ornithology