What Do Birds REALLY Need From Us?


What do you feed birds?

Mostly, we buy bird seed. And we plant trees and bushes that have berries that birds eat.

But none of this does anything for baby birds.

Seeds and berries don’t help birds when they are reproducing, because birds don’t eat seeds and berries when they are having babies in the spring.

Mainly birds eat insects when they are reproducing, because they reproduce in the spring. Seeds and berries are all gone in the spring. But springtime is good for bugs.

Soft and nutritious caterpillars make great food for baby birds.

96% of terrestrial birds depend primarily on insects when they are reproducing. Mainly, they depend on caterpillars (which are insect larvae).

Caterpillars are soft. They don’t hurt the baby bird’s esophagus. They are also full of fat and protein.

Here’s why this matters: Insects, including caterpillars, need native plants to live on. Insects and caterpillars cannot live on alien trees and plants.

Why are bird populations down? Because our landscapes are overrun with alien trees and bushes.

The Carolina Chickadee needs 400-500 caterpillars per day while feeding their young.

Our bugs cannot eat alien plants. So we deprive birds of their food.

Solution: We must get back to native plants.

Go to NWF.org/NativePlantFinder to find out the native plants that are best in supporting our native wildlife.