Just as any species on our beautiful earth, birds of all kinds range in many different sizes, are accustomed to eating different foods and partaking in different levels of activities in their daily lives. While to an untrained eye, a bird could look obese or ‘fat’, for most wild bird species, this is not the case.
While you might notice you are continually refilling your backyard feeders and that most of your visitors seem to constantly be feeding, your backyard bird’s biology and active lifestyle keeps them lean and mean. If you have ever watched birds closely, (as I’m sure you have) you will quickly become aware of their high-energy daily lives. In addition to feeding themselves, your birds can also be responsible for feeding chicks, mates and are always on the defensive, protecting themselves and their young from predators. Birds are also equipped with a high metabolism and use their food very efficiently for converting it directly to energy.
A number of bird species also take part in an activity known as caching. If you happen to have a number of local birds in the process of caching food, you will surely be in disbelief at how much food these birds can eat. The truth is, they are not consuming this food immediately, and they are simply preparing for the winter months when food might not be readily available.
When You Can Notice Weight Gain in Birds
As migrating species prepare for their long journey south, they will eat large amount of food to be used as fuel for their southbound trip. At this time of year, we actually recommend using seed with a higher fat content to help your backyard bird prepare for their long flight.
Domestic birds such as pets, or farm-raised birds like ducks, turkeys, and chickens are often much more obese than their wild counterparts. This isn’t terribly hard to imagine as these birds are often over-fed and do not get enough physical activity.
Bird located close to city-centres can often fall victim to obesity. Humans will either directly feed many birds fatty foods like bread or allow local birds to enter their trash for food and this can quickly deteriorate a bird’s natural instinct to forage for their own food and bring on additional weight gain.