There are a lot of things in nature that can bring you joy…to name all of them would take many
pages. But most certainly one item on the list would be the sights and sounds of young birds making their first appearances in your yard and at your feeders.
It’s hard to describe the emotions of seeing freshly-fledged bluebirds being brought to feeders by their dad, or the joy in watching the antics of fledgling chickadees as they endlessly harass their parents to be fed, or young woodpeckers clumsily learning how to use a bird feeder.
Yes, a new generation of birds is out there and we can find joy in knowing that the food an
d housing we provide can make a significant difference in how they survive and thrive.
Research studies have shown that birds with reliable access to feeders will often lay their eggs earlier than those without. This is significant because earlier broods have less competition and typically better rates of survival.
Feeders also allow breeding females to spend less time searching for food and more time selecting better nesting sites and constructing higher-quality nests. The parents will also have more time to protect their nest, eggs and young from predators.
When abundant feeder food is accessible to parents, they are free to spend more time searching for a wider variety of natural food resources for their young. Studies have shown that this extra nutrition reduces aggression among nest siblings and increases their rate of growth.
But food is not the only key in helping birds to nest successfully in your yard. A properly designed and installed nesting box can make a significant improvement in nesting success rate.
Equally important is the quality of your yard’s natural habitat. Keep your yard a little messy. Birds can’t always find the natural resources needed for nest building in an immaculately groomed yard. In addition, consider planting natives as these will provide nesting space and food resources that may be missing.
There is joy in knowing that you helped to make a difference.
By Wild Birds Unlimited, Tampa