We all enjoy the gentle chirping of birds in the morning right after dawn – the sound is so relaxing, inspiring and wonderful, some people even suggest listening to it to help lighten moods and improve mental health. However, we can also give back to the creatures that provide this relaxation in the form of food – whether it is for pet birds or for birds that thrive in your backyard.
What is bird food made of?
Bird food is made up of a variety of things, and there are various types of food, most of which are better suited to one species of birds over the other. If you have pets that are birds, or even if you are feeding outdoor birds, you can either purchase commercial bird food or make some at home using some of the recipes online. To better understand what bird food contains, read on below for information on the types of bird food.
The types of bird food
So what are the types of bird food? Well, the foods differ based on what they contain. Here are some general types:
Natural bird foods
Either as the whole nut or in the form of chunky or smooth peanut butter, this will surely be a hit with your birds. Because of the high levels of energy, these can be optimal for birds in the winters who need the energy to survive the harsh weather conditions.
You can offer your birds the chance to have natural fruits by planting fruit giving trees nearby, or if you want, you can chop up the fruits and leave them outside for the birds to enjoy.
Another option for people who want to feed birds is to use corn – these should be used with care and in lower amounts as they can contain aflatoxins, which can be harmful to the birds.
Black Sunflower Seeds
A great food source for birds are these seeds – with these, you can offer them high nutritional value, with just a little bit of work needed to remove the shell. Plus, if you’re finicky about keeping the feeder and the area nearby clean, you can provide seeds with shells removed.
One thing you can do to help bring interesting birds to your backyard is using White Millet. The birds that often eat this food will take it from the floor, so a good idea is to sprinkle as much as they will eat on the ground.
Commercial bird foods
When it comes to pet birds, most caregivers tend to go for commercial food types. Unlike the wild birds, your pet shouldn’t just be picking up scraps. It is best to maintain a balanced diet type, where you can provide the bird with all of the essential nutrients.
Most commercial bird foods have been specifically created in a way that they can cater to the nutritional needs of your pet, but also give them all of the energy they need to not just survive, but to thrive in your care.
Tips for feeding birds
Placing the feeders
When placing feeders outside for wild birds, there are some things you should consider especially in regards to where they physically are – can the bird reach them, for example? You should also think about how easy it is for you to access the feeder.
Remember, it isn’t just enough to leave a feeder out there. You should consider keeping it in a place that is reachable for you so that you can clean it regularly. Another thing to remember – keeping the feeder away from glasses, so your birds don’t accidentally bump into your windows as they attempt to fly away.
Beware of predators
One thing to remember – you and the animals around you exist in a thriving ecosystem. This means that the birds definitely have predators around them that will think of the feeder as a good place to attack birds for lunch, primarily animals like cats. To take care of this, keep pet cats inside, and place the feeders where predators cannot reach or find it too difficult to.
Variety of seeds
Want to cater to a large population and diverse species of birds? A variety of seeds will be helpful in this regard as most of the birds will have their own preferences. If you put out different foods in different feeders, more bird types will be encouraged to stop by on their way for a little nip.
Consider the season
If you are placing specific seed types, do remember to consider what season it is. Some birds migrate during the winters, and won’t be around to enjoy the food you’ve left them, which could easily start rotting or attracting some competing animals like squirrels.
Maintain the feeders
If you really want to make a difference in the diet of the birds nearby, don’t just put a bird feeder out there and consider your work done. Not only do you have to regularly fill the feeder with food (the birds will easily be discouraged by a feeder that is often empty and as a result will return less often), but remember to clean out the feeder too.
Birds tend to be messy eaters, so you’ll have to clean the feeder out every now and then. Get rid of the excessive clogged and rotten seeds, and replace them with fresher ones. Over time, you can figure out exactly how much is needed by the birds and avoid spoilage.
If you see a series of dead birds nearby to the feeder, it may be that the feeder is becoming a site of contamination for the birds that are coming to eat. In this case, stop putting out food for some time, and then clean up the area. Wait some time for the contamination to end, and then you can resume putting out the food again.
Keep water nearby
A great way to get birds interested in your feeder, especially during the summers, is to leave out water as well. Not only will they play in it, they will also get their fill of water during their visits. Remember though, as mentioned above, the birds may end up making a mess in the water basin, so don’t forget to clean it out regularly.
Tips for indoor birds
As mentioned above, feed for indoor birds usually comprises of a mixture of seeds and other nutritional supplements. Keep the following in mind when feeding your pet birds:
- Make sure the food has some degree of minerals incorporated, which will aid in the healthy development of the bird’s feathers and bones.
- Just because your bird enjoys something, doesn’t mean he or she should be overfed. Take care to maintain a healthy balance.
- Research your bird species in order to be effective – if you know exactly what your bird’s nutritional need is, you will never have to worry about unhealthy eating.
- If your birds are feeding young, they may want to incorporate some egg or protein into their diet, to help their young ones grow.
- Look for the phrase ‘complete feed’ or something similar on the bird food packaging to make sure it is the right one for your pet.
Keeping all these tips in mind, you can make sure that your pets or even the wild birds outside your home are getting access to the best food throughout the year.