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Birdseed • Feeding Wild Birds • Bird Feeder CareSquirrels

feeding a bird When should you feed birds?  Well, if you are like most people, you probably only feed birds in the winter.  After all, food is scarcer in the winter, and birds have a tough time braving the elements.  However, many people don't realize that feeding birds year-round is also a good choice in certain situations.

If you want to feed birds only in winter, the best time to start feeding is in the autumn, before the weather gets too cold.  In order for birds to make your feeder a regular stop in the winter, you'll want to introduce them to your feeder when the living is easy.  That way, they'll include you in their winter feeding plans.

When should you stop feeding?  The birds will tell you!  You will notice that, long after the snow has melted and the days are longer, the birds are still flocking to your feeder.  Just because the grass is green doesn't mean that nighttime temperatures are above freezing.  If the nights are still freezing, insects will be inactive, and this will keep the birds coming to your feeder.  As the nights warm up, you'll see fewer and fewer birds, and you'll find yourself filling your feeder less frequently.  In addition to birds who leave your feeders when the insects show up, migratory birds will also desert you when it's time to fly away to their summer homes.

bird eating seeds If you live among bird species who keep their winter territories, an intermittent feeding program that you randomly stop and start is not the best practice.  A successful feeder may cause an increase in bird population that the natural food supply cannot support.  To start a successful feeding station, and then stop it and leave birds with an inadequate supply of food, is a bit inconsiderate.

In this situation, if you are going on vacation for a couple of days be sure to fill your feeders to the brim and scatter seed on the ground.  If you are planning to be away for a longer period of time, ask a neighbor or pet sitter to keep your feeders filled.  The birds will appreciate your consideration!

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When To Feed the Birds

man refilling a red bird feeder with sunflower seeds
Replenishing a Red Bird Feeder