March is one of the most difficult and stressful times of the year for wild birds. After surviving the long, barren winter, birds still face the challenge of finding food.
Birds’ natural food supply is at its lowest point of the year. Insect populations are low, and the few remaining wild fruits, berries, seeds and nuts are either hidden or undesirable. Spring’s unpredictable weather doesn’t make life any easier. Sunny, warm, spring-like days can rapidly give way to cold, damp and even snowy conditions that can push birds to the brink.
“Providing food throughout the spring is as important as winter feeding,” explained Jacque Lowery, manager of Moana Nursery’s Wild Birds Unlimited stores. “The birds are expending a great deal of energy migrating, courting and building nests at this time of the year when their natural food supplies are close to being exhausted.”
Food loaded with fat and calories helps birds struggling to survive the gap between winter and spring. The best seeds for providing energy are black oil sunflower, striped sunflower and safflower. Suet is also a high-energy food which is invaluable when birds need many more calories to keep their bodies warm. These and mealworms are a beneficial substitute for the scarce insects many birds would eat if they could find them.
Wild Birds Unlimited, located inside all three Moana Nursery locations in Reno and Sparks (1100 W. Moana Lane, 11301 S. Virginia St. and 7655 Pyramid Hwy.), is part of the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 275 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Visit www.reno.wbu.com for more information.