It’s coming to 9 straight months now that I’ve set table scraps out to the birds, and I just want to say, that I have seen a lot of changes in some of their eating habits, which have varied from season to season. First off, the starlings seem to eat every morsel of food that I have in the pile. Sometimes, they will come in the dozens when there is a lot of food out. In that case, it’ll just take an hour for the food to disappear. I do not think I am doing any harm by putting these food items out. On the contrary, the starlings find similar items in the wild. The popcorn resembles corn, and since there are lots of corn fields here in New Jersey, that is a common item for them to eat. I also put chicken out, which resembles insects. It’s kind of a weird fact that bugs taste just like chicken. I think that might be true, haha! Another food item that I put out is pasta, and although that is the last item to disappear, it is similar to something, but I just can’t name it right now. I do put soda out as well, but keep in mind, that I do watch every recording to observe how much they are drinking. I only saw a few starlings that drank more than a few sips. Even at that, by the time that bird drinks it, the soda has been out for an hour and is pretty much depleted of carbonation. In the wild, I am sure that all birds have the instinct to know if that soda is going to do any damage to them. Then again, I only saw one or two House Sparrows drinking a measly sip of soda in the summer, so I can’t be too sure on that. I won’t worry about that, I’ll just continue on and if I see any exploding birds, I’ll have it posted. How’s that sound? I’ll tell you one thing, that’s not going to happen, that’s all I can say.
The crows, on the other hand, are only collecting meat items and they don’t seem to eat anything. There was one crow that took a chicken thigh and flew down to the center of the road as if it was too heavy to fly away with. I’m not entirely sure if it was too heavy or if it just hungry and wanted to set it on a hard surface to eat a few pieces. Then, once another crow came to try to snatch the chicken, the crow flew off-camera and I couldn’t see how far the crow went after that. I am pretty sure these crows are determined to hide any food items that they collect. I’m sure if the other crow that was about to steal the chicken from that crow was watching the chicken beforehand, they knew what they would be getting themselves into if the weight of it would be too much to handle.
A few days ago, I did observe a crow taking a few pieces of popcorn, after it ate the first piece. That was one example that maybe they are eating more than just meat. I will tell you this, I know they can’t be eating meat all the time. They aren’t even eating reeses anymore either like they were in the past. That’s considered nuts to them, which is a protein-rich product just like meat is, but it may be possible that these are different crows that have never eaten them, and perhaps they don’t realize that there is peanut butter inside of the shells. The weather is getting colder, so the shells aren’t melting for the crows to smell the peanut butter either. I did lots of research on crows, and crows eat about 1/3 animal matter and the rest is plant matter. Therefore, it is probably obvious that wherever the crows are roosting at is where they keep their food. It is quite interesting that they cache and store food items for a long time. I read that they can store perishable food items for as long as 6 months. I wonder if the crows are trying to save that meat for the Spring? They have carried away meat items in the Spring too, but I know that all that meat couldn’t be eaten right now since the crows don’t have any babies to take care of since they grew up. The babies probably ate that meat before and right now they are just managing for themselves. My gosh, back then, I remembered one crow that was sitting on a telephone wire and a few Vultures were eating all the food, then after the vultures left, only a couple of gummy worms were left and some popcorn. That crow immediately came and ate both gummy worms right on that spot. No other bird I’ve seen has eaten something like that, so I can tell you that their ability to survive on any food source is incredible! They do eat from garbage dumpsters so they have no reason to be picky when they need the food the most.
I haven’t seen any House Sparrows around. The last time I saw them was about a month ago. When they were around at the time, they were just eating popcorn from the food pile and bird seed from my grandma’s feeder. I saw one that would keep taking reeses away. That is quite strange because it’s only this one sparrow that was doing it. I’m sure that starling had a liking to them because of the shell’s sweet taste. They aren’t interested so much in eating peanut butter, but I’m sure they ate it anyways, since it’s soft enough to eat. They do eat 4% insects during the non-breeding months, so I’m sure that accounts to something when it comes to them eating the correct protein they need. In the Spring time, there were some House Sparrows that were eating nothing but chicken, but once that disappeared, they started to eat almost everything else too just like the starlings always are. That’s a drastic change compared to what I’ve recently seen.
I noticed that the reeses are eaten by the squirrels now. Also, I notice them eating the shells are well. They used to trim around those and leave the shells behind in the summer. Perhaps now, the sugar that is in the shells is crucial for them to store fat to keep warm through the winter. I am not exactly sure, but I think that is what’s going on with that. One thing that makes me wonder, if I am putting 20 reeses out and the crows observe the squirrels eating them just like they were eating nuts and taking the hidden caches, then how come they don’t do the same thing for the reeses. I’m sure the crows know that the squirrels are eating them, so why can’t they do the same thing? It seems that the crows already have enough nuts, and maybe they are stashed out on them. That’s my guess. What do you think about that one?
Well, I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last blog. I decided to make this entry because I feel more confident of what I am feeding these birds based on what they need to eat. Over these months, it didn’t click on me until now. If you got any bird feeding stories to share, I’m always open for those. Thanks for checking this post out.