Can You Overfeed Wild Birds?

As a general rule, wild birds eat only until their stomachs are full.

Considerations

Wild birds rarely lose the ability to find their own food.Wild birds rarely lose the ability to find their own food.
Most birds have what is known as a crop—a tube in the throat that allows only a certain amount of food to reach the stomach at any given time.

When feeding birds, ensure that food is not stale or rotten, as this can be far more harmful to the birds than overeating. According to Colorado State University, the digestive enzymes produced by a bird's pancreas may not react well to rotted food.

Misconceptions

It is generally difficult to gauge how fat a wild bird is by its appearance. Most wild birds are so heavily covered in feathers that it is impossible to determine the body weight with a visual inspection.

Expert Advice

The National Bird-Feeding Society recommends providing habitat, food, water and nest boxes to make a yard bird-friendly. It notes that birds more frequently visit feeders placed near larger trees and shrubs.

About the Author

A professional writer since 1994, Eva Talent was trained as a journalist by the U.S. Army. She received two Army Commendation Medals and an Army Achievement Medal for journalistic excellence. Her press releases are frequently featured on the websites of the Department of Defense and the Army. Talent holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan.