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Let’s feed the birds!

America’s love affair with feeding the birds today is stronger than ever. Fun facts:

Who feeds the birds today?*

  • 8 million US households
  • People young and old–the most active age group by a small margin is 25-34 year-olds
  • City, rural and suburban dwellers almost equally from the West, Midwest and the East Coast

Why do we feed the birds?


Our respondents fed birds because it brought nature (84%) and accompanying sound (81%) to the area, as a hobby (79%), and to help the birds (79%).”

Wildlife Society Bird Feeding Practices study published in 2013

“The birds that choose to come to my garden my make house a less lonely place. And that is why so many of us feed animals. Not merely because it is satisfying to feel that we have helped them, but that it surrounds us with creatures that know us, are able to forge bonds with us, have come to regard us as part of their world.” 

New York Times Magazine, “Why do We Feed Wild Animals?” published January 6, 2016

We’ve been feeding the birds for centuries

Key dates that inspired the national movement:

  • John James Audubon’s Birds of America printed between 1827 and 1838, containing 435 life-sized watercolors of North American birds
  • In 1845, Henry David Thoreau famously fed birds at Walden Pond
  • During World War I it was considered a patriotic duty to help the birds survive winter so they could go on to eat insects that threatened agriculture
  • The Migratory Bird Treaty was signed 100-years ago in 1916, protecting migratory birds from unregulated shootings
  • In 1926, the first commercially made bird feeder, designed for hummingbirds, went on the market

 Want to help?

Follow Audubon Park’s 5 tips to start feeding the birds.

*Sources: Wild Bird Feeding Industry’s 2014 Consumer Research; US Fish and Wildlife National Survey 2011