Birds are geniuses at regulating their eating, we don't have to do it for them. We are only supplementing their diet, not providing the majority of it. Nature supplies food that is fresher, more varied and what birds are accustomed to eating.
When do they have special needs?
- Spring-migration, molting, breeding, nest building, raising babies
- Summer-juveniles learning how to eat, habitat loss, food competition
- Fall-migration, molting, getting ready for winter
- Winter-baby it's cold out there, less natural food available
Cooper's Hawk "mortality rates are high, with 72-78% of the young dying in their first year, mostly from starvation, predation, and accidents" - Nick Dunlop from "Raptors of the West, Captured in Photographs"
As bird habitat continues to shrink you can keep feeding fresh, appropriate food all year and trust that birds know what is best for themselves. Keep your feeders clean and enjoy!