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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Mar 11, 2011

Three reasons to keep your birdfeeders full for spring migration

Bird feeder in my front yard

According to the face book page of the "Friends of the Swainson's Hawk" spring  migration has begun down south.  That does not necessarily mean that migratory birds will arrive here early.  It does mean however that when they do begin arriving in a little more than three to four weeks, these birds will be exhausted from their long and arduous journey.

Another article I read recently, written by a naturalist and researcher, stated that some bird species have in recent years begun leaving earlier for their chosen destinations.   In doing so these birds often encounter storms and other weather phenomenon along the way.  This will make their journey twice as hazardous in some instances, and most definitely more exhausting in all.  A ready food supply along the way will go a long way toward ensuring their survival.

Your kidding right?

Iced landing strip
Another reason to keep your bird feeders full is that the weather, especially here in the North, is still not exactly very friendly for birds that thrive in warmer weather.  It is still quite cold and there is as yet no snow melt.  Last year, for example, at the beginning of April the ponds, here in Alberta at least, were still frozen when the ducks and Geese began arriving, and the way things stand right now I don't expect this year to be any different.

Under the bird feeder
While it might warm up to the point where the snow will melt and the trees will bud, there will by no means be an abundance of food for returning birds.  If there is still snow on the ground, it will make it difficult for seed eating birds to glean the seed which was left on the ground or on plants in the fall, be it on a farmers field or just on the forest floor.  Returning birds will need the extra food in the bird feeders to help them stay active, which in turn will help them to survive the colder temperatures.   Please note, it is a good idea to spread some seed on the ground for those birds who prefer to forage there, as these birds are unlikely to perch on a bird feeder.
On the ground
A third reason to keep those feeders topped up, is that the sudden influx of birds will create competition for resident birds.  Which means that they will have much less to eat at a time when food is already becoming short in supply.   Bird species such as the Yellow Rumped Warbler or the American Redstart, who are flycatchers and rely on insects as a food source as well as, or instead of seed, will not have an easy time of it either, as the insects will not begin to emerge from their winter slumber until the weather has warmed up considerably.  Again, these birds will be in direct competition with resident birds who, no doubt, are very much more adept at finding an insect's winter den, but will now still have less of a share regardless.   So to help all those birds whose diet includes insects, please don't forget to fill your suet feeders as well, as these bird species do need protein to survive.

To help you learn about the different types of bird food available for each bird species just follow the link below:

To decide which types of bird feeders to purchase, or to learn simple ways to make your own, follow these links:



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