Mother birds always love their babies unconditionally. They spend a lot of time to take care of their babies and keep them safe as much as possible. Also, they don’t discriminate to their babies in terms of feeding them.
Then there is a question among bird lovers. How do mother birds feed their babies? The answer is that most mother birds eat food and then regurgitate it for the babies. They often feed their babies insects so that they can get more protein and grow healthy.
And that’s why we will provide you some necessary information so that you will be able to know how mother birds feed their babies. This writing is also our loving dedication to our beautiful feathered friends.
Handy Hint: To read more about birds food, visit our other article about What To Feed A Baby Bird Without Feathers? [here..], What Birds Eat Black Oil Sunflower Seeds? [here] and How To Feed Wild Birds? [here..]
How Do Mother Birds Feed Their Babies?
Baby birds always depend on their parents to eat food. In this case, a mother bird usually digests the food and then puts that food into the babies’ mouth. The babies always open their mouth wide and screech for the food when they are hungry.
However, the feeding method may be different, depending on the species. But every time the baby bird, which screeches louder, usually gets more food than others.
If the baby bird gapes its mouth strongly, then the parent can feed it easily, and the baby will be able to swallow much larger items.
How Do Mother Birds Ensure Which One Needs More Food?
Sometimes each baby bird doesn’t get an equal amount of food. Perhaps it may be sick or is unable to show the parent that it needs food.
In most cases, the other siblings are bigger and stronger. They can shove their other nestmates to get the food.
You may find various species of birds that have a variety of behaviors and sibling competition. So, it is tough to be sure entirely about birds.
Indeed, the mother bird has enough memory to know which one has immediately got food or even, which has not got the food for a while.
Besides, the one which is hungrier screech louder, and the mother usually put the food into the loudest screecher’s mouth.
Again, mother birds observe their babies well. The one which is swallowing silently, putting the food in the gullet, doesn’t get food in that particular time.
Most Mother Birds Provide Protein-Laden Food
Every mother bird usually feeds their babies many different things depending on their species.
Some perching birds like sparrows and finches eat seeds, nuts, and berries. But they feed their young babies insects because young birds need more protein than are found in the adult’s diet.
Songbirds often feed their babies almost 4 to 12 times an hour. They mostly provide the baby birds protein-laden insects and worms to make sure that they will be healthy.
Some Mother Birds Changes Food Habit
Some parent birds that usually eat seeds, such as finches, cardinals, and sparrows, switch to insects during the breeding season.
Generally, the mothers eat the smaller insects themselves and take the larger ones back to the nest for the babies. So, they can carry more food to their ever-hungry offsprings.
Before feeding the babies, the parents hit the insect against the tree-branch or the ground. They kill the insect and soften the hard shell.
Sometimes, the parents chew the insect, and then break up the exoskeleton to make it edible for the baby birds.
Some Mother Birds Feed Substantial Milk to Their Babies
Some birds produce a substance similar to mammal milk. Pigeons are the best-known producers of crop milk, and both sexes produce it.
Crop milk produced by sloughing of special cells in the crop is very nutritious. Even pigeon milk has more fat and protein than that of cow or human.
For the first few days after hatching, crop milk is the only food that the mother bird provides to the baby birds.
Both parents feed crop milk for a couple of weeks. As the babies get older, it gets seeds with the milk. When they are gradually getting older, they get more seed rather than less milk.
Some Mother Birds Feed Their Babies Differently
Some parents, such as pigeons and doves, feed their babies by using different styles and techniques. They usually squeak and tap their beak against the baby birds’ beak to feed the food. The babies stick their beak down the parent’s throat and suck up to food of the crop.
Most of the songbirds do not have an actual crop, which is essentially a sack capable of holding a large amount of food. The baby birds which don’t have a crop can only hold a small amount of food at a time. They must be fed almost every 20 minutes from sunrise to sunset.
On the other hand, pigeons and doves can hold a large amount of food, which passes slowly through the digestive system. Even the youngest baby pigeon or dove can be fed no more than every couple of hours.
Some Mother Birds Feed Their Babies at Night
Most birds sleep and rest at night. But, some birds specialize at the nocturnal activities. Nocturnal birds are in the minority, but there are plenty of genus and species of nocturnal birds.
For example, most owls hunt at night and are inactive during the day. Also, nighthawks kill insects in flight at night.
Besides, some swifts kill airborne insects at night. Bitterns and night herons are nocturnal. But most night herons are not.
Hopefully, you are now well-known of the term “How do mother birds feed their babies?” As the baby birds entirely depend on their mother, they actually eat whatever their mother usually feeds.
When the baby birds are born, they are not able to eat food by themselves, so their mother, sometimes father, digests the food to make it safe for them. Then the parent puts the food into the mouths of its babies.
However, some birds have multiple eggs, but the only one who is the strongest and gets more food will survive each brood. Then, the particular bird will be the example of ‘survival of the fittest.’