Mar 7, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, April 2018

Spring Can Really Hang Birds Up the Most

We typically think of the best bird feeding seasons as fall and winter, but it is actually early spring when birds could use the bit of help that our feeders may give them.

We typically think of the best bird feeding seasons as fall and winter, but it is actually early spring when birds could use the bit of help that our feeders may give them. Two full seasons after the blooming and growing months of summer have ended, natural food supplies will be gone or nearly so. Berries, nuts, seeds, insects, flower nectar, buds, and other natural foods that birds eat will not yet be available or even growing in the cold-winter parts of North America. This makes spring feeding a wonderful opportunity for fans of backyard birds.

There are also some things to anticipate at the feeders in spring. The return of hummingbirds is always a highlight at my house. The adult males usually arrive around April 15 here in southeastern Ohio. But we also enjoy spring feeder visits from indigo buntings and rose-breasted grosbeaks, which opt to eat sunflower hearts and seeds at the feeder in the weeks before insects and new plant buds are available.

One final note about the joys of spring feeding: Warmer weather makes things easier for microbes and disease to spread. It's a good idea to move your feeding station to a new spot—away from the seed hulls and droppings that accumulated during winter. And give your feeders a good thorough cleaning before restocking them for the spring feeding season.

Happy backyard birding!

About Bill Thompson, III

Bill Thompson III is the editor of Bird Watcher's Digest by day. He's also a keen birder, the author of many books, a dad, a field trip leader, an ecotourism consultant, a guitar player, and blogger.

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  • Another suggestion is to buy easy to clean feeders. It’s just human nature to avoid a task that’s hard, so fill your birdfeeding station with feeders that dissemble and clean up easily.As your budget allows, replace old fussy feeders with ones that make cleaning a snap.And have a back-up feeder or two so when you clean a birdfeeder, you have another to take its place.
    by Nancy Castillo, Fri, 16 Mar 2018
  • I don't agree with the 20-30 minutes at 375°. This will burn the egg shells. 5-7 minutes is enough to kill any issues. I also place mine in the microwave for 2-3 minutes to achieve the same result.Just my experience and suggestion.I host 100+ pairs of Purple Martin's and many box nesting species.
    by Mark Croucher, Sat, 03 Mar 2018
  • Has anyone heard of a Carolina wren opening doors? Our cat brought us a wren late last night, thought it was a goner but put it in our parakeet's old cage that has the sliding vertical doors. The wren gained strength, started to bop around the cage. We wanted to release it in the morning to make sure we could see it escape to safety. I put the cage in a quiet bathroom and went to bed. I woke up to the sound of fluttering wings. Sure enough the wren somehow got out, crept under the bathroom door and was trying to get out. I caught it with a light blanket and released it outside. It promptly flew away, very strong. I went back to the cage and am just dumbfounded and impressed, no way out unless it somehow pried the doors open. I was just relieved that it was ok. I can't believe it survived being carried around and batted about like a toy by the cat!Thoughts?
    by Beth Andries, Wed, 27 Sep 2017
  • cool
    by Luke Tansey, Sat, 16 Sep 2017
  • how can i get Caterpillar and other insects at home or buy them etc etc etc for my quails any suggestions earliest res thanks in advance
    by asif, Mon, 11 Sep 2017