Feeding a growing family – getting the time right!

///Feeding a growing family – getting the time right!

Feeding a growing family – getting the time right!

Click here to play                      Read by Matthew

swallows and swiftsAt this time of year it is important that birds can find the right food for their growing chicks. Can you imagine how much energy goes into a growing chick? How much food they need? Can you imagine a Blue tit looking for enough caterpillars to feed 10 chicks AND find food for itself? A chick will need 100 caterpillars a day to get enough energy to grow! So how many caterpillars for 10 chicks? Here's some more information about a Blue tit family Blue Tit blog | BTO - British Trust for Ornithology Where do all these caterpillars come from? (don't forget that Moths come from caterpillars too!)

Some birds can make their nests in early Spring, so you might be seeing juvenile (baby) Blackbirds and Robins in your school or garden about now. These birds will be feeding their chicks juicy worms that they find in the ground. Blue tits and Great tit have to wait until there are enough caterpillars around - so May & June.

What about Swallow, Swifts and House Martins? These birds only eat insects - they are carnivores. These bird migrate (that topic is coming up soon in chatterbox) to a warmer country in the winter. They have to fly away from the UK because there will not be enough insects for them to survive. Swifts, Swallows and House Martins are now back in the UK, finding a mate making a nest. These birds will have chicks in June and July - when there are plenty of tasty insects flying around. Don't forget many insects feed from flowers - which months are best for flowers?

birds on wire

The birds that don't really need to think about the right time of year to bread are the Pigeon or Dove family. Woodpigeons and Collared doves eat seeds and insects. These birds can find food all year round. So don't be surprised to see a Pigeon building a nest in January !!

out of the nest

If you want to know more, here's the link! What to do if you find a young bird out of the nest

Finally, a little word of warning. If you, or anyone else, find a chick out of the nest and on its own DON'T pick it up. Here's a fabulous chart from the Wildlife Trusts to help you.


By |2018-09-04T08:51:12+00:00May 13th, 2015|Chatterbox, Chatterbox 2015|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jackie Day
Until recently Jackie was the RSPB Education Officer for West Sussex based at The Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve. Responsible there for developing and delivering the education programme on the reserve and in schools, Jackie has considerable experience working with schools, teachers and pupils teachers on developing science and nature activities that address the requirements of the new primary curriculum.

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