8 Bird Feeding Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

8 Bird Feeding Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Are you a novice at feeding birds?

If you have recently brought a new bird home, or you wish to attract one to your property, then it’s best to learn about incorrect feeding practices to avoid. Making crucial feeding mistakes will not only prevent you from making friends with your new pet bird (or with the neighborhood birds), but could also endanger the life of your new animal friend.

Feeding a bird will require more than just putting out birdseed. To ensure a healthy and nutritious meal for the bird, a trusted Dubai pet food company lists down the following feeding mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Feeding unhealthy food

If you’re thinking of feeding the birds some bread, banish that thought. Bread and other heavily processed items, like cookies or donuts, are considered to be junk foods for birds. These do not give adequate nutrition for any bird species.

Another thing to avoid is choosing the cheapest bird seed. This is often loaded with fillers like cracked corn, oats, or wheat. You can save more money by buying  high-quality bird food since birds will prefer to eat it rather than toss it to the ground.

2. Using only one kind of bird feeder

Just like humans, birds also have distinct dietary preferences.

Different bird species prefer different feeder styles. Don’t expect all open feeders with perches or trays to attract your type of bird. So if you want to maximize feeding, use the right feeder.

Depending on the bird species, consider:

  • Mealworm dishes for bluebirds
  • Jelly feeders for orioles
  • Mesh socks for goldfinches
  • Nectar feeders for hummingbirds
  • Suet feeders for woodpeckers

3. Failing to protect the bird feeder

There are other forms of wildlife that may attempt to raid a feeder before the birds can get to the seed. Bears, raccoons, rats, and squirrels are examples of animals that wouldn’t hesitate to snack on the contents of a bird feeder that can be easily accessed.

At the same time, a  feeder laid out in the open can also expose birds and make them vulnerable to predators. This is why putting up protective structures around the feeder is necessary.

4. Storing seeds carelessly

When stored properly, birdseed has a long shelf life. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to take advantage of this if the seeds aren’t properly contained. They will turn rancid and invite pests like larvae, mice, and rats.

Keep in mind that as seeds dry out and get old, they become less nutritious and appetizing for birds. Also, once water gets into the seed, molds can grow on it, which can make birds sick. The strong smell may also attract more unwanted pests.

5. Forgetting to clean feeders

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that birds aren’t picky about eating from clean feeders. A dirty feeder can get clogged. Seeds that spoil due to moisture may cause diseases in birds.

Moreover, dirty feeders are more prone to damage and wear, which makes them less useful over time as they require frequent repairs and replacements.

6. Choosing not to feed during winter

Many new bird owners or enthusiasts assume that it isn’t necessary to feed the birds during winter, simply because birds aren’t around. As a matter of fact, the availability of feeders is more crucial to birds in winter than in the summer, because this is when they have to feed their hatchlings.

To access a nutritious meal during the cold season, birds will be more than happy to visit your feeders, so make sure they are full of birdseed.

7. Letting feeders go empty

Birds may forgive a feeder that stands empty for a few days. But if it’s consistently empty, don’t expect the birds to stick around. Remember that wild birds won’t starve even if your feeder is empty because they can search for food from natural resources instead.

Birds won’t return to a place with an unreliable food source. Refilling feeders promptly will attract a wider variety of birds every season and keep your feeders in good condition.

8. Creating bad nectar

Finally, when feeding hummingbirds, using any sweetener other than plain white sugar to create nectar can be quite dangerous. Brown sugar, fruit juices, honey, and artificial sweeteners don’t provide adequate sugar concentration for hummingbirds. What’s worse, bad nectar can produce molds which can be deadly for birds, so always make sure to use a proper nectar recipe.

Your intention to feed birds is admirable, but it’s also important for you to be responsible when performing this task. Do take note of (and avoid making) the eight mistakes mentioned above. Observing proper bird feeding practices can help ensure that the neighborhood birds are healthy and happy to pay frequent visits to your home.


Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.

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