Feeding migratory birds in Summer – Why bird watchers love it
While the early weeks of spring ushered many beloved migratory birds, many bird watchers favor Summer bird feeding because the bird activity reaches its peak as late Spring migration brings the rest of our backyard birds to their destination. This peak brings a flourishing variety of birds with beautiful bold colors, unique characteristics and mating rituals.
To many, this wonderful variety makes summer the most exciting and rewarding bird feeding season. If having this great variety is your focus, by all means, if you provide the right foods, add water and shelter – and live in the locale of a migration route – you’ll find much excitement and have a rewarding time observing the many colorful birds that arrive in your backyard.
What’s the benefit of Summer bird feeding?
As of my locale, (South Central Pennsylvania) my backyard has seen four migratory birds species. This may be partly due to the limited variety of foods that I provide.
Therefore, from my personal experience, I feel that the most important thing to a bird during summer is water.
Consider this for a moment:
Summer often means grueling temperatures across the globe. It detrimentally affects people, many even to the point of death. Would it not be the same for our backyard birds?
Not only do birds need to drink, they also need to bathe. Not so much because of being dirty, but because of the heat that builds up within the numerous layers of feathers. This trapped heat likely builds their body temperature quickly.
Although many bird watchers focus on providing food in Summer, water may be more beneficial. It’s not food that releases the heat from their wings, only water can cool them down. Birds naturally receive heat from the energy their food produces, and from the sun. With this heat naturally upon them, our feathered friends need relief.
So you can benefit wild birds by providing numerous sources of water. Remember to keep the water fresh. If the water is lukewarm, you’re not as likely to relieve your feathered friends of this heat.
That’s not to say that food is not important to our backyard birds. If, for instance, the migratory birds arriving in your yard are not native to your locale, feeding them is vital because the natural food sources in your yard are not native to their diet. If however, the migratory birds are native – having reached their breeding grounds – providing food only serves the purpose of pleasure. In such a case, providing fresh numerous water sources is most beneficial for Summer backyard bird feeding.
– Craig Curtis