Birding has long been a favorite pastime for rural and urban dwellers alike. Somehow, watching birds go about their business brings all birders back to their natural roots. Watching birds can be a passion or a relaxing few minutes in front of the window overlooking your backyard. Bringing these creatures into your backyard starts with feeding.
Feeding birds in the spring and summer is just as important as feeding them in the winter. During this time, they define and defend their territory, go through their spring molting, mate and construct nests, care for nestlings, and rear fledges. Feeding seed helps wild birds tremendously during these demanding periods.
Birds will know that you have extra food and treats available, even when there are fresh, natural foods for them. An extra plus is that migrating birds, as well as non-migrators, will know that your yard is the "place to be" when cooler weather comes. Other benefits to warm weather feeding include:
- Attracting the most species to your backyard.
- Observing birds in different stages of life - from nestling to fledgling to adult.
- Developing relationships with individual bird families and closely examining behavior including courtship and care of young. Consider using a nesting box or birdhouse you can see into, such as our Observation Bluebird House.
Type of Feeder
Specific types of feeders work better in warmer months. Since the birds have more natural food, humidity and warmer temperatures mean that standing seed may become moldy more quickly. Low-maintenance or smaller-capacity feeders may be better. Bird Watcher's Journal states "It's always a good practice to offer only as much seed as can be cleaned up in a day."
Feed Suet in Summer?
Surprisingly, many birders do feed suet in the summer. If you offer suet in the summer, such as our
Never Melt Suet, offer it in a shady area, examine the suet if it is not being eaten quickly, and be sure to routinely clean feeders with soapy water.
Which Seed for Which Birds?
Almost any food is appropriate in warmer weather. If you wish to attract a specific bird population to your backyard, follow the guidelines in the chart below.