If you’ve ever heard the expression “She eats like a bird,” you may have the impression birds require very little caloric intake.

However, most wild birds require quite a bit of food to keep their bodies functioning. Why? Because they have very fast metabolisms and must constantly move, fly, run and use up body heat just to survive.

On average, birds eat from one-quarter to one-half of their body weight each day — such that a 2-pound cardinal consumes between a half pound to a pound of seed daily. Hummingbirds are at the upper end of the chart, drinking about 100% of their body weight each day — the equivalent of a human chugging 17.5 gallons of milk.

More fun facts about the caloric needs of birds:

Their food needs are seasonal. During migration, breeding, and times of severe cold, some species may require up to 10,000 calories a day.

They’re innately selective. Birds have the built-in ability to assess potential food items for nutritional content and quality and will weigh and test individual seeds in their bills before deciding whether to drop or eat them. They prefer seeds that are easily handled and digested because their survival depends on consuming a lot of food quickly while simultaneously avoiding predators.

They don't become dependent on bird feeders. Birds enjoy the wealth of resources offered by bird feeders but are in no danger of becoming dependent on them since they’re motivated by evolution to keep sampling a wide variety of foods.

Some are front loaders, some are grazers. Generally speaking, larger birds need large meals less often and smaller birds need small meals more often.

They don’t need to chew. Birds generally swallow their food whole, then digest it via the gizzards in their stomachs.

Packed with select fruits, seeds, and shell-free nuts, Lyric Wild Bird Food Fruit & Nut High Energy Mix is a high-energy blend formulated to provide birds with a range of nutrients they need to survive.