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Nature Notebook – Eats like a Bird

As I was watching birds at the feeders I thought about the phrase “eats like a bird” to describe a finicky or light eater. When Michael Phelps fuels up with his massive breakfasts, he eats like a bird.  Cyclists on the Tour de France eat like birds as they constantly take in energy-rich food.  Teenage boys eat like birds as they eat everything in sight during their growth spurts.

Birds have metabolisms that are much faster than humans and must eat amounts equivalent to their weight every day in order to sustain this rate.  For example, robins eat about 14 feet of earthworms every day.  Many seed- or nectar-eating birds will supplement their diet with protein-rich insects which are also the primary food for most nestlings.

If you’d like to help increase the food supply for hungry and parenting birds, consider adding native plants to your landscaping.  These plants will attract the types of insects the birds are used to eating and feeding to their young.