Momma bird feeding baby

How Do Mother Birds Feed Their Babies? Birds Advice Guide

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.

Final Words

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.’ 

How Do Mother Birds Feed Their Babies? [Comprehensive Guide]


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Do you ever wonder how do mother birds feed their babies? When you think about how a mother bird feeds her babies, you might picture her sitting on a nest and feeding them little worms.

But there’s more to it than that! In this blog post, we’ll explore the different ways that mother birds feed their young, from carrying food in their beaks to giving them regurgitated meals.

So read on to learn more about how baby birds eat!

Table of Contents

How Do Birds Feed Their Young?

One of the most fascinating things about birds is how they care for their young. Most birds feed their chicks by regurgitating food [1] that they have previously swallowed.

The process begins when the adult bird swallows food and stores it in an enlargement of the esophagus known as the crop.

When it is time to feed the chicks, the crop muscles contract and push the food back up into the mouth. The bird then tilts its head back and transfers the food directly into the chick’s mouth.

This process allows chicks to get the nutrients they need without having to search for food on their own. In addition, it helps to bond parent and child, as they share a meal together.

As anyone who has ever tried to feed a baby knows, getting them to eat can be a challenge. It’s a good thing that birds have found such an efficient way to care for their young.

Also Read: What Birds Eat Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?

However, the method of feeding the birds varies from species to species. One thing in common is that hungry children open their mouths wide and scream.

Moreover, when a baby bird gets more food and another bird gets less food, the baby that gets less food starts screaming more than before.

The wider the baby bird’s mouth, the more convenient it will be for the mother bird to feed. In this way, the mother bird can feed a large variety of food to the babies.

How Does the Mother Bird Ensure all the Babies Get Enough Food?

Ensuring that all chicks get enough food can be a real challenge for mother birds. After all, they can’t very well stand in line and take turns at the feeding station.

Instead, they have to find other ways to ensure that each chick gets its fair share. One common strategy is for the mother bird to divide her food into smaller pieces and feed each chick one piece at a time.

This way, each chick gets an equal amount of food and no one is left out. Another approach is for the mother bird to feed the largest chicks first and then follow up with the smaller ones.

This ensures that everyone gets some food, even if it’s not an equal amount. Either way, it’s clear that mother birds go to great lengths to make sure their chicks are well-fed.

Moreover, the louder the chick cries, the more the mother thinks the bird needs more food. Then the mother bird feeds the young one.

CHECK: How Long for Bird Eggs to Hatch?

What Types of Food Do Mother Birds Feed their Babies?

All mother birds need to feed their babies, but the type of food they give them can vary depending on the species.

Some common examples of baby bird food include insects, worms, and small pieces of fruit or berries. While these may not sound appetizing to us, they are perfect for growing baby birds.

Insects are a good source of protein, which helps them to grow strong muscles and feathers. Worms are packed with nutrients that help keep baby birds healthy.

And fruit or berries provide them with the energy they need to fly and explore their world. So the next time you see a mother bird feeding her babies, take a moment to appreciate the variety of food she is able to provide.

When Do Baby Birds Stop Being Fed by Mom?

The answer varies depending on the species of bird, but most young birds will begin to explore outside the nest and eat on their own between 4 and 6 weeks of age.

During this time, they will still beg for food from their parents, but they will also start to take small bites of solid food.

As they learn to fly and hunt, they will gradually become more independent, until they are finally able to fend for themselves entirely.

So the next time you see a baby bird at your birdfeeder, don’t be surprised if its mother is not far away.

What Are Some of the Other Ways Birds Feed Their Babies?

Birds are known for their unique parenting skills. They have many different ways of feeding their babies, and it’s important to know what they do so you don’t interfere with them.

Birds have a variety of foods they eat, including insects, seeds, nectar, and fruits. Some birds even eat meat! Birds also have different kinds of mouths depending on what kinds of food they like to eat.

For example, hummingbirds have long beaks for eating nectar from flowers, while hawks have sharp beaks for tearing apart their prey.

Here are some other ways birds feed their babies:

Mothers will often regurgitate food for their babies. This means that they vomit up the food they ate earlier so that the baby can eat it again later.

Vomiting is a very normal process for humans and animals alike. It helps us get rid of things we shouldn’t digest such as bacteria or poisons and allows our bodies to re-use nutrients later on!

Some birds will also provide insects and worms for their chicks to eat directly from their own mouths! The parents will catch these bugs themselves or even give them to their babies as gifts!

Milk Sacs: Many birds have milk sacs that they use to feed their young after they hatch from eggs. They produce milk in these sacs so that when they hatch out of the egg, there’s already milk waiting for them!

Are There Mother Birds that Feed Young One’s Milk?

The answer is yes! There are a few mother birds that will actually produce milk for their chicks. The most well-known example is probably the pigeons, who have a special crop that produces milk for their young [2].

However, doves and some other species of birds also have this ability. The milk produced by these birds is very similar to mammal milk and is full of nutrients that help the chicks grow strong and healthy.

So next time you see a mother bird feeding her chicks, you can be sure that she’s giving them the best possible nourishment.

Have a look at this video.

Some Birds Feed Their Young at Night

Most species of birds rest and sleep at night. However, there are a few species that rest during the day and collect food at night.

Nocturnal birds [3] include owls and bats. They hunt at night and sleep during the day. Insects are one of their food, so they hunt insects at night.

Like other birds, they prey on insects, chew, soften and feed their young. In this way, the child can eat the food well.


So, there you have it! That’s how mother birds feed their babies. It can be a lot of work for them, but it is definitely worth it to see their little ones grow up and thrive.

Have you ever seen this process firsthand? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!


  • 1. Researchers Find Out How Pigeons Make the “Milk” They Barf Into the Mouths of Their Young. Discover Magazine. Accessed June 2, 2022.
  • 2. Malm K, Jensen P. Regurgitation as a weaning strategy — a selective review on an old subject in a new light. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 1993;36(1):47-64. doi:10.1016/0168-1591(93)90098-A
  • 3. Yahya MS, Puan CL, Azhar B, Atikah SN, Ghazali A. Nocturnal bird composition in relation to habitat heterogeneity in small scale oil palm agriculture in Malaysia. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 2016;233:140-146. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2016.09.003

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Site of kindergarten №20 "Rosinka"

Junior group

Exercise "Mother bird feeds her chick"

Purpose: To activate the muscles of the lower jaw

Move: Place the child facing you. Show the picture and perform the movements according to text :

Chick flew merrily,

Chick opened its beak.

Like this, like this

Chick opened its beak.

Say that you are a mother bird, and the baby is a chick. Encourage your child to fly and flap their wings. Then offer the chick to eat. Tell him to open his beak wide.

D/a “Guess who is singing?”

Purpose: to develop pitch hearing, speech.

Move: The teacher shows a picture of a mother bird and a chick, asks to say how they sing: Mother bird is low, chick is high. Then the teacher takes turns picking up the picture, and the child reproduces.

Middle group

Exercise "Compare birds with animals and people"

Purpose: to fix body parts
• A man has children, and a bird has chicks.
• Man has a nose, but birds have
• Animals have wool, and birds have
• Animals have paws, and birds have

Exercise “Where is the bird?”

Purpose: to practice the use of the preposition ON, WITH

Move: The teacher shows the pictures and asks where the sparrow sat? -On the branch where the sparrow flew from? - From a branch ... etc.

Senior group

House "Birds"

Goal : Strengthen children's ability to classify animals, birds, fish.

Turn All children sit on chairs arranged in a row or around the table, or stand in a circle.

One of the players picks up an object and passes it to his neighbor on the right, saying: “Here is a bird. What kind of bird? The neighbor accepts the item and quickly replies, "Dove." Then he passes the thing to his neighbor and says himself: “Here is a bird. What kind of bird? “Sparrow,” he answers and passes the item to a neighbor.

The item can be passed around the circle several times until the stock of knowledge of the participants in the game is exhausted.

Describe the bird

Purpose: activation of the vocabulary of adjectives on the topic "Birds"

Move: The teacher offers to remember and name the birds that fly to the site.

For example : bullfinch - small, bright, cheerful, beautiful, fast, agile, nimble, hungry, wintering, etc.

Preparatory group

D / and "Lay down the word"

Purpose: the formation of compound words

A titmouse has a yellow breast - what does it mean? - yellow-breasted.

The magpie has a long tail, so what is it like? - long-tailed.

The crow has black wings, which means it ...

The dove has bluish wings, which means it ...

A magpie has a white breast, which means it ...

D/i “Whose beak, whose head”

Purpose: formation of possessive adjectives.

Move: The crow's beak (whose?) is a raven, the head (whose?) is a crow

The magpie has a magpie-magpie.

Dove -

At the owl -

At the sparrow -

Foundling | Bianchi V.V. | Stories for children

The boys destroyed the Wheatear's nest, broke her testicles. Naked, blind chicks fell out of broken shells.

Only one of the six testicles I managed to take from the boys whole.

I decided to save the nestling hidden in it.

But how to do it?

Who will bring him out of the egg for me?

Who will feed?

I knew nearby the nest of another bird, the chiffchaff. She just laid her fourth testicle.

But will the mockery accept a foundling? The egg of the wheatear is pure blue. It is larger and does not at all look like mocking testicles: they are pink with black dots. And what will happen to the wheatear chick? After all, he is about to emerge from the egg, and little chuckles will hatch out only in another twelve days. Will mockery feed a foundling?

The mocking nest was placed on a birch so low that I could reach it with my hand.

When I approached the birch, the chuckle flew off the nest. She fluttered along the branches of neighboring trees and whistled plaintively, as if begging not to touch her nests.

I put a blue egg to her crimson ones, walked away and hid behind a bush.

Mockingbird did not return to the nest for a long time. And when, finally, she flew up, she did not immediately sit down in it: it was clear that she was looking at someone else's blue egg with distrust.

But still she sat in the nest. So, she took someone else's egg. The foundling became a foster child.

But what will happen tomorrow when the little wheatear hatches from the egg?

When I approached the birch the next morning, a spout was sticking out on one side of the nest, and a laughing tail on the other.


When she flew off, I looked into the nest. There were four pink testicles, and next to them was a naked blind chick of the Wheatear.

I hid and soon I saw a caterpillar with a caterpillar in its beak come and put it in the mouth of a little wheatear.

Now I was almost sure that the laughing would feed my foundling.

Six days have passed. Every day I went up to the nest and each time I saw the beak and tail of the mockingbird sticking out of the nest.

I was very surprised how she keeps up and feed and incubate her eggs.

I quickly walked away so as not to interfere with her in this important matter.

On the seventh day neither the beak nor the tail stuck out over the nest. I thought, “It's over! The mocking has left the nest. The little Kamenka starved to death."

But no, there was a live wheatear in the nest. She slept and did not even pull her head up, did not open her mouth: it means she was full. She has grown so much during these days that she covered with her little body the pink testicles that were barely visible from under her.

Then I guessed that the adopted child thanked his new mother: he warmed her testicles with the warmth of his body - he hatched her chicks.

So it was. Mocking fed the adopted child, the adopted child hatched her chicks.

He grew up and flew out of the nest before my eyes.

And just by that time the little pink eggs hatched.

Mockingbird began to feed her own chicks and brought them up well.

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