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Is it bad to feed birds?

Feeding birds in the winter doesn’t appear to disrupt migration, but it does carry some risks. Feed birds only in harsh winter conditions, and follow these tips:

  1. Avoid window strikes – set up feeders far from windows and use window decals.
  2. Keep cats inside – collar bells will not stop cats from killing birds.
  3. Don’t feed other animals – bird seed can attract animals like mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, deer or bears. Clean up spilled seed and make your bird feeder inaccessible to other animals.
  4. Prevent disease – clean up spills and clean feeders regularly using a 9:1 bleach solution.

Feeding hummingbirds also has special considerations – read more about hummingbird feeders and how to make hummingbird nectar.

Close up shot of pileated woodpecker eating
Photo credit: Harold Vos