Today: Sunday, 3 December 2023 year

Science: Be careful not to overfeed wild birds

Science: Be careful not to overfeed wild birds

The scientists warn that there is no need to overfeed the wild birds in the man-made bird restaurants. Many people in Scandinavia countries are fond of birds and feed them in winter months, but this approach can be dangerous for the great tits.

The Norwegian ornithologists say that people are interested in birds and give them food, but when they overdo it this can be a setback for certain bird species as great tit Parus major. In Norway and the neighbouring Scandinavian countries, great tits are one of the wild birds that benefits the most from the helping human hands.

According to Tore Slagsvold, professor at Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis at the University of Oslo, people should discontinue feeding wild birds in the spring, after Easter. It is not about the feeding but reproductive cycle, too.

The danger of the overfeeding the wild birds

Too much food for the wild birds in spring is that it can lure them into nesting too early. Then their chicks hatch too early too before there is sufficient food for them in the wild. Professor Slagsvold feeds wild birds too, and as long as we keep this within bounds he sees clear advantages in continuing to do so:

“Of course it is a joy for us to see birds at a feeder, and it can help many birds survive the winter when the snow is deep and covers trees and bushes.”

The great tits are found in North and Western Africa and all over Europe and Asia, even Japan. That species does not peck out a hole in a tree itself; it nests in holes it finds or in birdhouses that people set up outdoors. These places are good for hiding from crows, magpies, and house cats who are their enemies. Slagsvold explains that if we continue filling up feeders with seeds and nuts, or laying out bread crumbs, well into spring we risk making the birds accustomed and dependent on unnatural supplies of food.