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At 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
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 tits on the other hand have to wait until there are enough caterpillars around so they fledge and leave the nest in May or early June.
Not all birds are meat eaters!
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!!
Does where a bird lives influence what it eats?
The simple answer to this question is yes! For example,
Kingfishers live in wetland habitats near ponds, rivers and lakes and they eat a lot of fish. Another bird that eats a lot of fish is the giant Osprey. However, other birds of prey living in upland areas away from wetlands or the coast eat different food. Sparrowhawks look for small birds, Buzzards will eat anything from rabbits to worms and Kestrels eat small mice and voles.
Challenge: Research and create a food chain for an Osprey?
Photographs: Top: Blue Tit Middle: Collared Dove Bottom: Osprey