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GardenSMART :: Are You a Seasonally Savvy Bird Feeder

Are You a Seasonally Savvy Bird Feeder

By Wild Birds Unlimited
Photograph courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited

We all know bird feeding is fun, but being a seasonally savvy bird enthusiast means you are tuned into birds' seasonal nutritional needs. Providing a high-fat diet for birds is crucial in the wintertime, even when the birds don't live in a cold climate. Regardless of the weather, winter means shorter days and longer nights, which means less opportunity for foraging.

Fat is a concentrated energy source. That's why Wild Birds Unlimited launched an exclusive line – Winter SuperBlend. Winter SuperBlend provides birds the essential fat for winter survival.

"Backyard bird feeding hobbyists can offer Winter SuperBlend right now," says John Schaust, Chief Naturalist with the company. "This bird food is made with a high-fat content, which birds need because they may need to replace 10 percent of their body weight, in the form of fat, every single day. This is because they may burn up that amount of fat every night. That's why these high-fat foods are so crucial and sought by the birds."

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"In the winter, these birds are spending, depending on what part of the country they're in, 13, 14 hours overnight living off of their fat reserves," Schaust says. "During the summertime, it's exactly the opposite. There are shorter nights and longer days. In the winter, they have to get through the entire night using fat reserves, even if it's not really cold. They have a shorter amount of time during the day to replenish that fat, which they need to get through that long night again."

The new products can also help birds in another way: seed caching. Seed caching is similar to hoarding, and the birds are storing something they actually need: food for survival throughout the long winter months. The hippocampus (the spatial memory part of the brain) is proportionally larger in chickadees and other caching birds, like titmice, nuthatches and jays, than in birds that do not cache food. This allows them to remember where they hide food for successful retrieval later.

"Birds will literally take a seed and hide it, and they will do hundreds of these a day," Schaust says. "They're hiding thousands of seeds over the course of fall and early winter as a reserve food supply. The birds' behavior transfers from the natural foods they would normally hide to hiding seeds from our feeders. So you can sit there and watch them all day long going back and forth, grabbing one seed after another and flying off to hide them."

Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 330 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. Wild Birds Unlimited recently ranked No. 2 overall and No. 1 in the Retail category on Franchise Business Review's prestigious 2019 Franchisee Satisfaction Awards. Visit our website and shop online at To learn how you can open your own Wild Birds Unlimited, visit



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