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I've Heard It's Good to Feed Birds in Winter But Not Year-Round. Is This True?

By David Mizejewski

Tags: birds, bird feeders, winter,

I've heard it's good to feed birds in winter, but not year-round. Is this true?

Willie Tuttle
Cheyenne, Wyoming

It’s OK to feed birds year-round. The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to bird feeders is that birds really only use them to supplement natural foods. That includes insects and all manner of seeds, berries, fruits and nuts, as well as sap and nectar (depending on the species). With that in mind, it’s less important when you feed than how you feed. If you really want to help birds the most, you should focus your efforts on planting the native plant species they rely on for food and stop using insecticides in your yard. Then, you can supplement those natural foods with a few feeders to give birds that extra boost and attract them to a central location for better viewing.

 David Mizejewski, naturalist, National Wildlife Federation