A number of wild birds will visit your yard during the winter months. Here are some “tricks” to increase the fun of your winter bird feeding!
High-energy suet is probably one of the most important offerings you can offer your birds in winter. Suet is a quick source of energy and a great way to substitute for the protein-rich insects that are almost impossible to find in winter. Hang as many feeders around your yard as you can find room for. Keep plenty of suet cakes in your freezer so you won’t be caught without it during the cold winter times.
A source of running, unfrozen, and fresh water is vital to birds in winter. Offering fresh water in your backyard will double the amount of visitors you can enjoy during these months! Invest in a bird bath heater or try and place a small bowl of warm water out everyday for your backyard lovers.
In winter, birds need plenty of habitat to stay warm. Don’t remove your birdhouses in the winter! Leave them up so birds can shelter themselves from the cold.
That Christmas tree you throw away every year, SAVE IT , throw it on the ground where it can offer shelter. Take old branches or logs and pile them up! Many birds will appreciate the cover. Juncos, towhees and sparrows will love keeping snug during the cold winter nights.
Most of ground feeding birds will welcome seed sprinkled on the snowy ground where it is easily found.
Lots of beautiful and colorful finches come to winter feeders. Goldfinches, purple finches, house finches, pine siskins and redpolls look beautiful against the winter back drop. Thistle or Nyjer seed are an excellent source of energy for these finches in the winter times. Because thistle seed is very small and expensive, you may want to invest in a designed thistle feeder to dispense the seed economically.
If possible, consider leaving leaves on the ground. Instead of raking them up, leave them or pile them up in an area. Many insect-foraging birds will find delicious weeds under the icy shelter, in case of cold and snow.
Bird feeders are busiest in winter. Suet and seeds disappear quickly. Carnivores such as tits, tits, jaguars, finches and sparrows have now become their elements. This is a great time to add a new feeder to your yard. A platform feeder is a good choice.
Shelter your feeding areas. In winter, wild birds will favor sheltered locations. Strong winds make birds uncomfortable and may scatter your bird seed. Consider moving the branch stand to the south side of the house or in a more sheltered location in winter. Putting trees around your feeders can help buffer your birds and offer a milder micro climate.
This is a great time to experiment with a variety of foods. With a platform feeder, you can add fruit and bakery products to your winter feeding collection. Provide chopped nuts, donuts, popcorn, bread crumbs, grapes, raisins, apple slices and oranges to expand the menu. Treat your birds to some homemade muffins, bread and other snacks with sunflower seeds and nuts.
Winter guests will never stop the loving of black oil sunflower seed. Black oil sunflower seed has a high percentage of meat and is a very nutritious source of high quality protein. Black oil sunflower seeds have a thin paper shell, which makes it easy for smaller birds such as tits and nuthatch to open and enjoy. This seed also gives a high concentration of oil which is especially important in the winter. Most birds will try to use their oil glands to spread the oil over their feathers to keep them buoyant, dry and warm.
Keep a nice stock of bird seed in case of emergencies. You don’t want to be short when you need it most and the weather has gone bad. Consider storing more seeds in the winter, or better yet, put a few bags in the trunk of the car to stay safe. The extra weight will give you added traction when the roads are slick and slippery, and you’ll always have a ready supply on hand for your hungry winter visitors!
Don’t forget about other wildlife! Provide dried corn cobs or cracked corn for deer, squirrels and chipmunks. They will also appreciate apple pieces!