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Duncraft Debunks The Five Most Common Bird Feeding Myths


Myth: If people feed the birds, the birds will become dependent on bird feeders and will forget how to find food on their own. This myth is very similar to anotherthat people shouldnt feed birds in summer because theres enough natural food and birds have to learn not to become dependent on bird feeders.

Fact: Birds only get about 25% of their food from feeders. If birds cant find food at a bird feeder, they will continue to find natural food sources in the wild such as insects, weed seeds, buds, sap, spiders, berries and pine nuts. But if a bird feeder goes empty during a very harsh winter, it probably will be a hardship for the birds.

The birds havent forgotten how to find food, it just may be very scarce at certain times of the year. The food they find at a bird feeder will be a welcome supplement. If people do feed birds, its best to keep feeding during the winter. As for not feeding in summer, birds probably dont need bird feeders in summer, but how can bird lovers observe all their beautiful colors and behaviors when the birds are foraging in the woods and fields instead of in backyards?

Myth: Birds feet will stick to metal bird feeder perches in the winter.

Fact: If this were true, birds would be stuck to all kinds of metal things they can land ontrash cans, gutters, metal roofsducks’ feet would stick to ice and so would a penguins. But of course, that doesnt happen. Birds dont have sweat glands in their feet, so theres no moisture there to freeze to anything. Also, there is little blood flow in a birds foot, so the birds feet are cold in winter. In order for something to stick to cold metal in the winter, it has to be warm and moista birds feet are cold and dry.

Myth: If birds eat uncooked rice, such as that thrown at weddings, it will swell up in their stomachs and kill them.

Fact: Birds eat uncooked rice and other grains all the timejust ask any rice or wheat farmer! It may be more than most people want to know, but when birds eat food, it first enters a crop which is a storage tank for food. Birds can remove food from their crops anytime they want. Thats how they feed their nestlings. From there, food enters a two part stomach a little at a time. The first part digests the food and the second part, the gizzard, grinds up the food. The gizzard uses grit (small grains of sand that birds pick up on purpose) to help grind the food. So, rice, seeds and grains are easily dispatched by birdstheyre made to eat those foods!

Myth: If people keep feeding hummingbirds in the fall, the birds will stay around the feeder and wont migrate.

Fact: Hummingbirds will migrate whether they are fed or not. The trigger to begin migration is day length. As the day length (and amount of light) decrease in fall, hummingbirds instinctively begin to eat a lot more, putting on fat stores for their migration. They also need nourishment during migration. Keeping a feeder out later than normal (into the month of October), may help feed birds from further north as they fly southward.

Myth: If a baby bird is found on the ground, out of the nest, it shouldnt be put back in the nest because the parents will detect a human scent and reject the baby.

Fact: Birds have a very poor sense of smell and wouldnt be able to detect any human scent on a baby bird. Ornithologists often handle baby birds for one reason or another with no impact on the family. Also, a birds instinct to parent is incredibly strongtoo strong to abandon their babies for almost any reason.

Founded in 1952 and located in Concord, New Hampshire, Duncrafts objective is to bring the joy of backyard birding to wild bird lovers all across the country. Mike Dunn, owner and CEO is constantly inventing and searching for innovative ideas in bird feedinggiving bird lovers years of bird feeding enjoyment, success and satisfaction.

Duncraft Wild Bird Superstore
102 Fisherville Road
Concord, NH 03303
Phone: 603-224-0200
Fax: 603-226-3735

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