Bird Feeding Myths
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12 Bird Feeding Myths
Feeding birds is a wonderful hobby that can bring a diverse flock to your garden, but there are many myths about feeding birds that can prevent inexperienced bird watchers from removing their feeders. Understanding the facts can teach you to ignore these 12 myths about feeding birds and enjoying birds in garden bird feeders.
Feeding the birds makes them addicted to documents. FAKE!
Although the same birds regularly visit feeders as part of their daily diet, studies have shown that wild birds get only 25% of their food from feeders on average. Birds prefer many natural foods, and although they visit feeders for convenience, they can easily find other food sources when food is not available. Feeders can become more critical in severe winters, but birds will not starve if feeders are not full.
Feeding the birds in the fall will prevent them from migrating - WRONG!
Many inexperienced bird watchers assume that birds do not migrate while food is available. While some birds, such as the American robin and the Bohemian wax bird, are nomadic as a food source, migratory birds rely on weather, daylight, and their genetic instincts to begin migrating. Rather than preventing birds from migrating, available feeders provide the energy needed to help them survive long journeys.
Rice can kill birds - WRONG!
The myth that uncooked rice swells and kills birds or, in more colorful versions, explodes birds, is one of the most persistent and false myths about feeding birds. Many species of birds regularly eat a variety of grains, including rice, without ill effects, and rice can be a nutritional supplement to the diet of many birds. Leftover rice is a type of kitchen leftover that can be added to a diet in moderation, and birds love to eat it.
Birds Choke on Peanut Butter - WRONG!
Some people refuse to offer peanut butter to birds under the misconception that the sticky treat sticks to the beak and throat, killing the birds. This is another total lie and there is no proven evidence that peanut butter has been a problem for birds. Peanut butter is a highly nutritious delicacy, rich in calories and fat, providing great energy. Many birds love peanut butter, including nuthatches, chests, woodpeckers, and jays. If you're still concerned about stickiness, mix the peanut butter with cornmeal or flour to make it more brittle.
Bread is perfect for feeding ducks - WRONG!
Although bread, cookies, donuts, and the like can be given to birds as a rare treat, feeding duck bread can only lead to sick birds and polluted waterways. Bread has very low nutritional value and too much bread in small lakes and other areas can attract predators, rodents, and other pests. Rotten bread can also cause diseases that can infect birds and humans, and ducklings are not properly fed for healthy growth on a diet consisting primarily of bread. Instead of feeding the ducks bread, take the broken corn, fresh peas, or half the grapes to the local lake.
Red ink needed in hummingbird nectar - WRONG!
While hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, most hummingbird feeders have enough red to attract birds without the need for additional dye in the nectar. Although red dye was toxic to humans decades ago and is believed to be toxic to birds as well, current dyes are safe for consumption. Whether the hummingbird nectar has a red tint or not is irrelevant. They don't need them to find the power supplies, but it won't hurt them if they're there. But why risk it?
No bird eats milo seeds - FALSE!
The large, red milo seeds found in many cheaper bird food mixes are often considered unwanted fillers, but they are eaten by different types of birds. Quail, pigeons, and sparrows often eat Milo, as do other land birds, such as wild turkeys and pheasants. However, if your garden does not have many birds that feed on Milo, it is best to choose a mix that does not contain a large percentage of these seeds to avoid waste and accumulation of seeds thrown around the feeders.
Bird legs freeze on metal bars - FALSE!
The legs of the birds are well protected from the cold, even if they are sitting on a metal feeder. Birds do not have sweat glands on their feet to provide moisture that would freeze to metal. Also, your feet and legs are made of flaky fabric with poor circulation to minimize damage from the cold. If you are concerned about frozen bird feet, keep your winter feeders in dry, protected areas where they will not freeze during storms.
You don't need to feed the birds in summer, FALSE!
Several natural food sources are available during the summer months, including natural flowers, insects, fruits, and seeds. However, these are the same months that parental birds are overwhelmed with caring for hungry litters and growing young. Feeder supplemental feed is an easy and affordable resource for many birds in the summer, especially when multiple birds are present fighting for the same food sources. If you feed the birds in the summer, you will enjoy many more species in your garden and will 'teach' the young birds were to return next year for a reliable food source.
Birdseed never spoils - FALSE!
Like any food, birdseed can spoil over time, especially if it is not stored properly. The seed can attract pests and rodents or become moldy or moldy, and eventually, the old seed will dry out and be less palatable to birds. However, if you store birdseed properly, it can take several weeks or months and is still suitable for your feeders. Choose a cool, dry place to store the seeds and use airtight containers that keep rodents and insects out. When filling feeders, always check for damaged seeds and discard unnecessary seeds.
Mixed seeds are a poor choice - WRONG!
On the other hand, offering a mix of birdseed is a great way to attract even more birds to your garden. There are many types of mixes to choose from, including corn, corn, sunflower seeds, shredded corn, walnuts, fruit pieces, dried mealworms, and other foods. Choose a mix formulated for the types of birds you want to attract to your garden, or try making your own mixed seeds specifically for your favorite birds in the garden.
This food is squirrel-proof - FALSE!
While it is true that some feeder models are more resistant to squirrels than others, no feeder is 100% resistant to squirrels. Squirrels are smart and resourceful, and if the feeder has a seed or food that it likes, it will spend hours trying to figure out how to get it, causing significant damage along the way. However, there are ways to make your feeders more resistant to squirrels, and over time, squirrels may find that some foods are not worth it while others are more readily available.
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