You may be one of the 65 million people in the U.S. who set up a bird feeder or two outside their home. With so many bird feeders out there, it may make you wonder if we’re making songbirds dependent on humans.

Birds are foragers by nature, and feeders seem to do little to interfere with that. Birds have evolved to scan and search the landscape for food. These traits are probably what helped them find their way to your feeder in the first place! When there’s a shortage of food, they’ll adapt. You’ll see this in many northern U.S. songbird species that migrate short to long distances to reach better food supplies.

Even so, offering a supplemental food source helps songbird species. In an analysis by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, songbird species that made frequent to moderate feeder visits had populations that were as strong or better than those that didn’t visit feeders all that often. They had looked at 30 years of data collected on 98 songbird species for Project FeederWatch and the Christmas Bird Count. In the chickadee study, the researchers acknowledged that birds living in urban and suburban areas may have less abundant natural food sources, so these may be more dependent on feeders.

In the meantime, you can feel good about filling your feeders with Lyric Wild Bird Food. We use nothing but fresh, all-natural ingredients, such as fruits, nuts, seeds and grains, that birds love to eat.