If you’ve ever entered a wildlife store, you’ve probably noticed that there are dozens of different types of seed and food for birds.
There isn’t really any one answer to the question “what do birds eat” because each type of bird has their own unique diet.
In fact, there are over 10,000 known species of bird and their diets are as unique as their feathers.
As you can tell from their slim figures, birds have very fast metabolisms. This is why they’re constantly eating or looking for food.
So, what do birds eat? Well, that’s another story…
What do birds eat?
Birds have diverse diets. Some birds are big while others are very small. Some live in tropical climates, others live in deserts, while others thrive in the cold and snow.
Each species has its own unique needs. What do birds eat? That usually depends on their size. Small birds usually like nectar and seeds while larger birds may eat fish, mammals, or even other birds.
Many birds throughout northern climates choose seeds as their main diet staple due to the high protein and fat seeds provide.
Birds throughout tropical environments like to feast on fruit since it’s available all year thanks to the warm weather. These birds usually have bold and bright feathers. What do robins eat? Well, some birds in northern climates like robins also opt for fruit when it’s available.
Insects and worms
Insects make up the majority of birds’ diets due to their high water content. Some birds also specialize in worms. Still wondering what do robins eat? The stereotypical images aren’t wrong: robins love worms.
Fish, reptiles and amphibians
Years of evolution have given certain birds the ability to dive into bodies of water where they can find fish as well as several reptiles and amphibians for dinner. No birds exclusively eat amphibians, but a few do exclusively eat reptiles and fish.
- Bald eagles
- Road runners
Several birds rely on warm-blooded mammals for a majority of their diet. Don’t worry: they usually stick to small rodents and rabbits. (Just keep an eye on your small pets.)
Believe it or not, several birds consume smaller species of birds. Birds don’t make up the majority of their diet, but if they find the right bird at the right time it’s game over.
What to feed a wild baby bird
Baby birds usually rely on their parents for food. The mom will leave the nest to find food like seed. She’ll eat the seed and fly back to the nest where she regurgitates the food back into the babies’ mouths.
As you can see, the question isn’t really what to feed a wild baby bird, but rather how to feed a wild baby bird.
Just like human babies, baby birds have special food needs. Plus, they eat frequently: some may need food every 20 minutes for 12 hours a day.
Before you decide to care for a baby bird on your own, follow these steps:
- Wear gloves so the mom won’t pick-up on your foreign scent and place the bird back into the nest. If this isn’t possible, place the baby bird near the nest so the mom will see it.
- Wait for the parents to feed the bird.
- If the above steps don’t work, call a local wildlife rescue to see if they can care for the baby bird.
- If not, ask them for tips.
Baby birds have different needs than adult birds. Whether you have a baby mocking bird, baby cardinal, or baby sparrow, their needs are pretty similar. Here’s what to feed a wild baby bird:
- Wet dog food
- Moistened dog or cat treats
- Moistened dry dog or cat food
- Plain, raw liver
- Hard boiled eggs
What do birds eat and what to feed them
When possible, stick with conventional bird seed from your local wildlife store. Many locations will offer specialized mixes for certain bird species.
These mixes usually include cracked corn, sunflower seeds, millet, fruit, mealworms, nyjer, oats, peanuts, and other items.
It’s more important to know which foods to avoid. Don’t ever feed birds:
- High sugar, high fat, high sodium foods
Contrary to popular belief, bread isn’t a healthy option for birds because it doesn’t contain any vital nutrients.
When in doubt, check with your local wildlife resource.