Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year!
Some love it, some hate it. We all must face it and with living in this region of the country we must usually put up with cold and snow.
With that said, we are not the only ones that put up with the cold and snow. Wildlife also must deal with the elements. What we are going to discuss is how to protect and provide Winter feeding for our little friends who must brave the cold and snow so they can survive and return in the Spring.
You may know already that the winter can be difficult for our birds. The weather, being so cold, requires them to boost their appetite so that they can stay warm. This combined with snow cover on the ground makes it much more difficult for them to find the food that they need. Therefore, it is especially important for us to do our part and help feed the birds throughout the Winter season. You can help by following these tips and do your part to help our little friends outside.
First, use high energy foods when feeding birds in the Winter. When the nights are extremely cold it becomes crucial for birds to be able to refuel quickly.
May we suggest that you use foods such as peanut pieces or sunflower chips. Foods of this nature are high in fats that birds require and are fairly easy for the birds to eat quickly and without effort.
Second, continue to feed birds even if you cannot get to your feeders. When snow and ice keep you back or away from your feeders, that does not mean you still cannot feed the birds. A bird of any species will find food.
Just try tossing some seed out on to your patio, deck, or unused part of the driveway. You can also just throw it in the yard on top of the snow if it is not too deep. Almost any bird will seek out food even if it is lying on the ground.
Third, do not forget the water! Food is important to birds but what is more important to them this time of year? Water. Water is the lifeline for birds, animals, and humans. We do not realize it, but Winter brings the freeze to a bird’s water source. Areas such as rivers, ponds or lakes will freeze over and suddenly birds are unable to get water.
If you have an outside bird bath, consider getting a heater for it or even purchase a heated one that birds can access water throughout the Winter season. If you do have or are getting one that is heated do not forget to check it weekly to make sure it is clean water for them. A nice bird bath is a nice addition to your garden, patio, or deck. So, consider getting one or two.
Some additional tips for keeping your backyard birds healthy and hearty are to make sure you clean off feeders and brush the snow and ice so they can access what you have stocked them with.
Be sure to stock your feeders daily if you are able. A good time to do this is in the late afternoon to get the birds a little boost just before they go in for the night. Another reason to stock daily is that if feeders are empty a few days the birds will abandon them and look elsewhere for food.
Placing feeders in your backyard is also crucial to the bird’s safety. Predators can use your feeders as a “dinner table” if you will for their own source of nourishment or even just play toys. Make sure the feeders are at variable heights in or around tree and shrub areas. This will increase bird traffic as they will find where they are dining is also a safe area to be in.
Providing a variety of foods will attract a greater variety of birds. But one food to offer all Winter long is suet. This is the absolute best way for a bird to get a quick energy boost and it builds up fat reserves for those long, cold nights.
Follow these suggestions for keeping your birds happy and healthy in your backyard this Winter. You will be glad you did, and the birds will thank you for it. Happy birding!
Remember, Heritage Hill Nursery has Christmas trees now in stock in a variety of species and sizes. Go or call them to arrange your pickup of a beautiful holiday tree today!