Sep 2, 2020 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, August 2016

Will Birds Starve If You Stop Feeding Them?

An American goldfinch visits a feeder with Nyger seed.

Birds have evolved over the eons as incredibly adaptive, mobile creatures. Unless a bird is sick or debilitated, it can use its wings (or legs) to range far and wide in search of food. Birds that cannot move in search of food are likely doomed to perish, which is part of the natural scheme of things. Birds can become creatures of habit, though, so when you're going away on vacation for a week or two, it's helpful to them if you can arrange for a neighbor or pet sitter to keep your feeders filled. But if not, and your feeders go empty while you're gone, realize that "your" birds will not starve—they'll just go somewhere else to find food. When you return and fill the feeders, it might take a while for them to remember and return to your reliable banquet. Soon enough, though, your feeders will again have many guests.

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