Podcast

Here's How Much Food Three Different Birds Need to Eat Daily

From hawks to hummingbirds, avians have some enormous appetites.

This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of the National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.

Transcript:

This is BirdNote.

There used to be a saying about somebody who doesn’t eat much — “she eats like a bird.” Just a little of this and a smidgen of that. But how much does a bird typically eat? And how much would you have to eat to match it? Well, depends on the bird. 

As a rule of thumb, the smaller the bird, the more food it needs relative to its weight. A Cooper’s Hawk, a medium-sized bird that hunts other birds, eats around 12 percent of its weight per day. For you, if you weigh … say … 150 pounds, that’s 18 pounds of chow — roughly six extra-large pizzas.

That perky little chickadee flitting back and forth for sunflower seeds from your feeder eats the equivalent of 35 percent of its weight. You, as a 150-pound chickadee, will be munching 600 granola bars a day.

And a tiny hummingbird? It drinks about 100 percent of its body weight per day. That means you’ll be sipping 17½ gallons of milk. Prefer wine or beer? 18 gallons.

If it’s warm outside, you can probably get by on a bit less. But if it’s cold, you’ll need more. So you’d best stock up.

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.

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Credits:

Call of the Pine Siskin provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. [44845] recorded by G.A. Keller, [140257] recorded by Gerrit Vyn, and [117803] recorded by S.R. Pantle. 

BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie

© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org  November 2018  Narrator: Mary McCann 

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