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How Much Do Birds Eat?

You might be surprised by how much birds really eat
© Jon Hayes - Creative Commons View Large

There used to be a saying about somebody who doesn’t eat much — “she eats like a bird.” But how much does a bird typically eat? 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, eats around 12% of its weight per day. For a human that weighs 150 pounds, that’s 18 pounds of chow, or roughly six extra-large pizzas. And that perky little chickadee at your feeder eats the equivalent of 35% of its weight. You, as a 150-pound chickadee, will be munching 600 granola bars a day. And a hummingbird drinks about 100% of its body weight per day. That means you’ll be sipping 17½ gallons of milk.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Eat Like A Bird

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.
[Chatter of Pine Siskin, http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/44845]
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% of its weight per day. For you, if you weigh … say … 150 pounds, that’s 18 pounds of chow — roughly six extra-large pizzas.
[Calls of Cooper’s hawk [140257] recorded by Gerrit Vyn]
[Calls of Black-capped Chickadee http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/117803 :08 on]
That perky little chickadee flitting back and forth for sunflower seeds from your feeder eats the equivalent of 35% 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% 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.

###

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 2016  Narrator: Mary McCann

ID#          eating-01-2016-11-23    eating-01

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/how-much-do-birds-eat-each-day/
https://www.peregrinefund.org/explore-raptors-species/Cooper's_Hawk

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