Benefits of Feeding Birds: More Than Just for The Fun of It!

Benefits of Feeding Birds: More Than Just for The Fun of It!

Have you ever wondered why people feed birds? What are the benefits of feeding birds?  What is the effect on the birds? Do backyard bird feeders have a positive effect on people? How is the environment affected by birds being fed?

Bird Feeding Benefits for Birdwatchers

For me, the greatest of the benefits of feeding birds is the pleasure I get from watching the birds. When we feed birds, we feel like we share a friendship with them as they visit their feed stations.

The birds that visit our backyards are important to us. The personalities of the birds start to be recognized as their behaviors are observed. We get to know the birds’ songs and squawks. Likewise, we get to enjoy the range of colors from vibrant bright colors to dull camouflage colors of different birds. Also, we see the beautiful distinguishing color patterns and field marks up close.

Birds Benefit from Bird Feeding (Duh)

Benefits of Feeding Birds in Winter
Winter Bird Feeding, Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Feeding birds helps them overcome the effect of urban development on their natural environment, according to the article in Cornell Lab’s blog FeederWatch , What Are the Cost and Benefits of Bird Feeding. While feeders help them overcome a reduction in sources of food, don’t worry they will become totally dependent on the free meals we provide.

Birds only get about 20% of their diet from bird feeders. They fly, hence the saying “birds eye view”, and are resourceful. The birds will continue to forage for their natural sources of wild food both when bird feeders are empty or full.

 

Birds will continue to search for food in the wild just as they did before you fed them. However, the assistance of bird feeders takes the pressure off finding food in urban America especially when times are hard.

Benefits of Feeding Birds for Yards

Even yards and landscape reap some benefits of bird feeding.  Birds will naturally visit your yard, but bird feeders attract even more birds to your backyard. The abundance of birds has a positive effect on your yard.

Organic Pest Control

Benefits of Feeding Birds - Pest Control
Hummingbird Having Dragonfly for Lunch, Photo by Geoff Park on Unsplash

No one enjoys being buzzed by flies, mosquitoes, and other flying insects outside.  Being attacked by a spider while enjoying a quiet evening in the backyard is a bummer. Many birds search for insects, snails and spiders in your yard. They eat a huge amount of these pests, which are natural food sources for them.  This reduces these irritants in your yard somewhat like an organic pest control.  No harmful pesticides are used, and it doesn’t require scheduling the next pest control treatment.

Weed Control 

We like our yards pristine, with lush grass, green plants, beautiful flowers, and perhaps most of all, no weeds. Doesn’t that sound like a perfect yard that is to be prized.

Birds do not limit their eating to food provided for them with bird feeders, but rather only compliment their natural diets with it.  Many birds eat seeds, which they harvest from our backyards since they are already there for the bird feeders.  They especially like seeds from weeds, which are a major source of food for birds in the wild. Benefits of feeding birds includes the reduction of weeds in our yards, which is a bonus in addition to simply enjoying the birds.

Pollination

Benefits of Feeding Birds - Hummingbird Polination
Hummingbird at Flower, Photo by Chris Charles on Unsplash

Birds that sip nectar, such as hummingbirds, are effective pollinators of flowers, similar to bees. The result is cross pollination of the flowers in gardens or flowerbeds, helping to produce luxurious and beautiful landscape.

Enlightenment

Observing the birds that we provide with appropriate food, fresh water, nesting sites and shelter for may naturally morph into a fun and fulfilling educational experience. Bird identification becomes almost second nature and its incredible fun. As a bird watcher, you can learn to:

  • Anticipate the time of day certain birds like to eat.
  • Identify types of feeders and bird food that are preferred by which birds.
  • Observe a difference if you change the type of feeder or offer a different the type of food.
  • Know the songs of different species and identify which birds are at the feeders by listening.
  • Watch the mating rituals and how the birds teach their chicks, fledglings and juveniles.

Social Benefits of Feeding Birds

A benefit of feeding birds is, the birds give a lot back to the bird watchers, who get to enjoy them. Often, birds that visit regularly are thought of as pets. Have you ever noticed that backyard bird watchers, including me, refer to the birds that visit their yard as “my birds”? They can offer stress relief like domesticated pets, except you can’t hold or pet them. Of course, they also don’t require the veterinarian care that cats and dogs do.

Wild Birds Almost Like Pets

Benefits of Feeding Birds - Elderly
Elderly Man Feeding Pigeons, Photo by Caitlyn Wilson on Unsplash

Seeing and observing birds can especially be beneficial to the elderly, the sick, children and those with limited mobility according to the  Birds and Blooms’ blog, Birding for Your Health. The benefits of feeding birds for this special group of people who may not have access to traditional pets is numerous.  For example, watching wild birds offers a familiarity with different birds and their personalities.  A smile or laugh at the bird’s antics can make a person’s day. In some cases, bird watching can be someone’s only opportunity to enjoy nature and wild life.

Greatest Benefits of Feeding Birds

The greatest of the benefits of feeding birds may vary with each person you ask. For some people, just seeing the birds is the most awesome benefit. For others, observing what the birds do and when they do it is the absolute best. Watching them during mating and raising their young can be magical. Enjoying everything you see at your bird feeders, bird baths and bird feeding stations can sum it up.

Comments

What do you think of Bird Watching Made Easy?  Do you have a question, or something you would like to learn in future posts?  Are there pictures or stories you would like to share from your birding experience? Leave comments below and I promise to respond to every comment timely!

All the best,

JoAnn

Author of Bird Watching Made Easy

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6 Replies to “Benefits of Feeding Birds: More Than Just for The Fun of It!”

  1. Our toddler loves to watch the birds in the window at her grandparents. Because they take the time to feed the birds she has learned to appreciate watching them and even learned the word “bird”. We especially like looking for the hummingbirds as they are so dainty and sometimes allusive.

    I did not know birds help with weed control. I found that very interesting that birds could benefit in that way.

    It makes me feel good about feeding birds knowing that it will not stunt their natural need to hunt. I did not know that only 20% of their nutrition comes from bird feeders. They must be busy!

    1. Hi Laura,

      It sounds like you really enjoyed the article. I’m so glad. Bird watching and feeding brings us so much joy.

      Thanks you for sharing,
      ~ Jo Ann

  2. We really enjoyed the bird blinds at Garner State Park (last summer) and Pedernales Falls State Park (this summer).

  3. One of my favorite bird-feeding activities is feeding peanuts to blue jays. I love how methodically they peck open the peanuts.

    Moreover, it is a fantastic way to woo them into coming up close! This method works best in a big city, where blue jays tend to be much less skittish.

    Thank you for reminding us that birds are natural pest control — and weed control!

    1. Hi Michael,

      I’ve been thinking about putting peanuts on a tray feeder for the big birds, especially the blue jays.  I think you just convinced that is the thing to do!  I’m headed out to get bird seed in a few minutes, so peanuts are now definitely on the list.

      Thank you for sharing the fun of feeding blue jays peanuts.  

      ~JoAnn

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