Feeding Birds in Winter May Do More Harm Than Good

Believe it or not, but over 55 million Americans feed wild birds and spend over $3 billion a year on bird food, and millions more on bird feeders, baths, and other accessories. Many of us have at least one bird feeder in our yards, not only to decorate our outdoor space, but also to attract wildlife. Besides those clever, pesky squirrels that compete for the seed, birds use bird feeders as a fast-food outlet in times of food shortages. While birds do not actually need the food we offer in these feeders, it seems that these backyard feeders are always the popular spot to be, especially during the winter. However, according to researchers at the University of Exeter and the British Trust for Ornithology, feeding wild bird populations during the winter can actually result in less successful breeding during the following spring.

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