Winter Meals…For the Birds!

My Garden Life
December 21, 2012
Table of Contents

Bring your winter landscape back to life by adding a few seed or suet feeders. Birds rely on seed to survive the winter when other food sources, such as insects and worms, are gone. Installing a single feeder, or creating an entire “feeding station,” will help keep birds healthy and reward you with the color, song, and cheerful antics of Nature’s feathered friends.

Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes designed for different foods and to attract different visitors.

  • Thistle feeders are designed with small openings to accommodate the tiny seeds of the Thistle flower. This is the seed and feeder that will bring the colorful gold and purple finch flocking to your house.
  • Many seed blends are available containing combinations of sunflower, millet, milo, safflower, nuts and cracked corn. Since sunflower seeds are a favorite of many bird species, it’s smart to have an extra feeder just for sunflower seed. A wide variety of feeders are available for large seed and there’s sure to be a style perfect for your location and needs.
  • Look for hanging feeders, post feeders, open dishes to accommodate birds that prefer to feed on the ground, or small window feeders that allow you to enjoy birds up close. A few of the birds you can expect to attract are cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers.
  • A suet feeder is a wonderful way to provide birds a source of high protein during the lean winter months when there are no insects to eat. Suet is mainly animal fat and it can be provided plain or purchased in blended cakes that contain a variety of fruit, seeds and nuts. Many cage-like suet feeders are designed in just the right size to contain one pre-formed suet cake, making it a snap to replace the cakes as needed. All birds love suet and adding it to your feeding station will help draw some of the more elusive species, such as a variety of woodpeckers and the charming nuthatches.
  • Be sure to wash your hands
    after handling bird feeders
    , nesting boxes, or cleaning bird baths. Birds can
    carry pathogens that have the potential to cause illness in humans.

Don’t forget that birds need open sources of water during the freezing temperatures of winter. A heated birdbath is a great investment to ensure that your yard becomes a popular destination for birds.

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