Make Spring Less Stressful for the Birds

Simply put, spring can be a very difficult month for your birds. It’s one of the best times of the year for you to help birds.

Early in the spring, birds' natural food supply is at its lowest point of the year. Insects aren't out in force yet, and the few remaining wild fruits and berries are either hidden or undesirable. Unpredictable weather doesn't make life any easier. Sunny, warm, spring-like days can rapidly give way to the cold, damp and even snowy conditions that can push birds to the brink. And to make matters worse, this can all be happening as some birds prepare for nesting season.

Offer your birds lots of high-energy foods such as peanuts and suet. Loaded with fat and protein, these are beneficial substitutes for the scarce insects many birds would eat if they could find them.

Counteract the lack of natural insects by offering protein rich mealworms. They are eaten by numerous species of birds, including chickadees and robins, and therefore, can be a lifesaver during a sudden cold snap. 

Bird houses can make your birds’ lives a little easier. After all, they have already expended a lot of energy establishing territories, courting and look of scarce food. By offering nesting materials and installing bird houses around your yard, you can entice wrens, chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and more.  

This year, we are all facing additional stress. Although, studies show feeding backyard birds is great for improving mental health and reducing levels of stress and anxiety. Help the birds and help yourself by feeding them. Happy Bird Feeding!

(Kathy and her husband, John, own and operate the Wild Birds Unlimited, located in Billings and at  She is a Certified Bird Feeding Specialist and is past president of the Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society.)