How to ‘Winterize’ Birds

With fall approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll care for your feathered friends throughout the coming cold season. Even though there is plentiful food all around now, birds will soon have a harder time finding food for themselves! Feeding and housing them now will not only keep them happy and flocking to your yard all winter long, but will also be beneficial in the spring and summer when they’ll need to feed their babies and will already be comfortable in your yard, knowing that you’re a good provider. fall bird

High fat foods such as sunflower seeds are ideal for giving birds the energy they need to survive the cold nights. Birds don’t mind shelling their own seeds but you can buy already shelled seeds if you don’t like the mess. Suet cakes are readily available and inexpensive. Suet provides much needed fat and nutrition for your birds during the winter when seeds and berries are hard to find. Birds will flock to your yard for this treat! Right now The Family Tree is offering great deals on suet, so stock up now!

Birds such as bluebirds and wrens build their nests in bird houses.  To attract birds to your birdhouses, place them in a relatively sheltered area from predators and provide a food and water source nearby. Even in the winter, birds need fresh water.  Instead of draining your bird feeders and fountains, add a de-icer or water wiggler to keep the water from freezing.

Squirrels  – GRRR.  This is a hard one!  Many people like to watch the antics of squirrels but you also want your bird food to feed the birds.  There are a number of squirrel proof bird feeders and baffles made by Droll Yankee and Audubon. Some bird feed by Cole’s has hot pepper added, which seems to winter_birdwork pretty well; birds don’t mind it and squirrels don’t like it! You may also consider feeding squirrels in an area farther away from your feeders and houses.  They will get used to feasting in that area and hopefully will leave your bird feeders alone.

Once the cold weather passes, your birds will gladly set up house in or around your yard.  In the spring and summer they will be looking for grubs, beetles, mosquitoes and more undesirable pests to feed their families. This is quite an added benefit for your lawn and garden!

Don’t miss our Tuesdays at the Tree seminar on September 6 at 10am! Ornithologist Chip Utsey will share how to keep birds flocking to your yard year round, as well as tips and advice on giving them the nutrition and shelter they need.