Bird feeding doesn't have to be limited to warm weather but can and should be provided all year long.
From the comfort of our own home, winter bird watching keeps us connected with nature while providing a vital lifeline to our feathered friends, getting them through some very tough times. A little TLC gives them a leg up on survival during frigid weather when food isn't readily available.
A nasty winter storm, with deep snow or ice cover, cuts off many birds from their natural food supplies and can actually cause them to starve. Backyard bird feeding makes a real contribution to their survival.
Some tips for successful winter feeding:
- Put out feeders with good size capacity and/or use multiple feeders to provide ample food especially during bad weather.
- Clean off feeders, platforms, and perches after each storm so seed is easily accessible.
- Provide nutritious seeds, such as black oil sunflower seed, hulled peanuts, Niger seed and white millet seed.
- Birds need to burn more calories just to stay warm and offering fatty food like suet is a great idea. Peanut Butter is also popular with our feathered friends.
- Leave fruit and berries on trees, hedges, and bushes to provide a natural source of food throughout the winter.
- Keep your feeders full. Birds will rely on you to provide the much-needed calories, especially for those long, cold winter nights.
- Birds can become dehydrated in winter even if surrounded by ice and snow, if you can, put out a pan of water near the feeder on warmer days.
- Stamp down the snow below the feeders for the ground-feeding birds such as dark-eyed juncos, doves and many sparrows so they will be able to gather up the seed that drop from the feeders.
It’s never to late to start feeding birds. Most importantly, it's never to late to start enjoying mother nature. You will begin to recognize cardinal pairs, a band of blue jays, chickadees, morning doves (my favourite) and if you are like me, you will even entice crows to visit daily. Crows are so smart and play such an important role in the bird family.
Individually, I believe we can make a difference.
Collectively we can make a huge impact.