What the Birds Eat
I live in a neighborhood that has some pretty well established trees, and because of them either flowering, fruiting, or attracting insects, birds seem to be everywhere. I have feeders, but just recently changed food in one of them from a basic seed mix to thistle seed only, and a whole new group is all around. At first I only got sparrows and cardinals, wrens, and doves. But since the thistle seed, I’ve been getting chickadees, tons of finches (both gold and house), tufted titmice, and nuthatches, . I also have a couple of hummingbird feeders that are well fought over. I’ve seen over 50 species of birds from my own backyard in the last 10 years. Some just fly overhead like the Canada geese, herons, egrets, and migrating ducks. Once, a wild turkey hen landed in my neighbor’s front yard. My daughter and I even saw a bald eagle one day while walking around the block. Now that was cool!
Sometimes there are predatory birds around my yard too. I’ve seen a huge redtail hawk with a squirrel in his talons (yuck, thankfully no picture). I’ve also seen other hawks and falcons glide through the yard with smaller brave birds squawking and chasing them out of their peaceful territories.
I’ve been interested in birds for a long time and recently began volunteering for a wild bird refuge. This organization works to rehab birds that have been injured, and raises birds that have fallen from their nests to hopefully reintroduce them to their old environment. I work with some darn nice people who have taught me a lot about the diet and habits of these creatures. At the refuge, we feed the birds worms, insects, fruit, seeds and special formulas for baby birds and fledglings. Out in the wide world however, it’s because of plants and trees, folks who garden, neighbors with feeders, and a margin here and there of woods, that food is all around for these guys. It’s important to protect their natural environment as well
Here are some pictures from the refuge of baby birds that are not able to protect themselves in the wild yet….I hate to see a bird in a cage, but at The Wild Bird Refuge they get a chance to eventually be re-introduced to their environment and live out their little bird lives naturally. I’m so glad this organization exists to look after them when they’ve been orphaned or injured and need feeding every 20 minutes or so. I wish I could do more for these creatures that help us….by eating mosquitoes and flies, keeping rodents in check, planting new seeds, and filling the air with beautiful music. Birds are admirable creatures to observe. They can withstand the toughest drought and the hardest winter. We can learn a lot about survival from them. I’m sure they could use help sometimes finding food and shelter, so I put up nest houses (currently occupied by Bewicks wrens), fill my feeders, grow things they like, and help at the refuge.