Do you enjoy watching birds visit your hard during the spring, summer, and fall? Not all birds fly south for the winter and with a little preparation, you can attract visits from your fine feathered friends all year long: even in the cold months! According to the experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products it’s easy to to encourage birds to seek sustenance and shelter in your backyard this winter. Here’s where to begin.
Figuring out feeders
Start by taking an inventory of your existing bird feeders. Inspect each for damage and replace if necessary. Consider adding new bird feeders to attract even more birds and allow for fewer trips to refill them during especially cold and stormy days. It’s also smart to stock up on high-energy bird feed so you’re ready to go when the first flakes fall.
Different species of birds not only prefer different types of feed, they prefer different types of feeders. Consider providing a variety of feeder types to increase the diversity of your avian visitors. This step is key to attracting birds in winter.
TOM: Want to turn a bleak January yard into a vibrant, colorful space? Start now by welcoming winter birds. Hi. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete with today’s Money Pit Home Improvement Minute.
TOM: Not all birds head south at the first sign of cold. Right now, there are plenty of species, like cardinals, finches, and woodpeckers, staying local and looking for food.
LESLIE: And the right menu will bring them to your yard. Since insects are hard to find right now, most birds are eating seeds. So, stock up on sunflower and safflower seeds and keep your bird feeders in steady supply.
TOM: Some birds, like woodpeckers, also like suet. To make sure the birds are the only diners, hang the suet high and away from the path of winter mammals.
LESLIE: And don’t forget about water. Break up ice in birdbaths or add warm water to melt it and the birds will flock from all over for that refreshment. I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And I’m Tom Kraeutler. For more helpful home and garden tips, visit moneypit.com.
A tube feeder is a “must-have,” since these all-purpose feeders keep seed dry while allowing a wide variety of birds to feed. Specialty wire-mesh tube feeders, designed for birds that cling, can easily dispense tiny, oil-rich niger seeds and other specialty feed. Mesh feeders allow birds like woodpeckers to grasp the side of the feeder while selecting food. These feeders also prevent larger birds from hogging the feed.
If you want an easy-to-use, one-size-fits-most feeder, select a bowl style with a protective dome that can be raised and lowered to thwart large birds and squirrels from getting to the feed while helping to protect seed from rain and snow. Easy to hang and fill, bowl feeders accommodate any seed, suet or even chopped fruit. Also, be sure to include at least one suet cage in your feeder array since suet provides a critical source of energy for birds in cold weather.
How to clean bird feeders
When feeding birds in winter, a necessary chore is to clean out any residue before filling with fresh seed. Unfortunately, some feeders are hard to scrub out, but Cole’s tube feeders have a built in “quick-clean” feature. Just push a button and the bottom pops off for easy access to the inside. Use soapy water and a bottlebrush to scrub, then rinse with cool water. This ensures that mold or mildew aren’t present and helps prevent disease.
Best food for winter birds
The key to feeding birds in winter is in the type of bird feed you purchase. Make sure you choose feed with high nutritional value! You may not realize that some commercial birdfeed is treated to prevent spoilage or packed with cheap “filler” seeds. Offering top-quality feed means less waste and ensures an increase in birds at your feeders.
Your seed choices should provide birds with the biggest energy boost possible. Sunflower is a great seed option for feeding birds in winter because it’s rich in oil. These types of seeds attract birds and provide plenty of energy. Cole’s Oil Sunflower is the highest-grade black oil sunflower seed, at over 99% pure! Peanuts are another high-energy option. Choose hulled varieties that are whole – and more nutritious than peanut pieces.
And don’t forget high-fat foods, like suet, the solid fat rendered from beef, or vegetables. These types of foods preserve energy to help birds maintain their increased metabolic rate during winter. Or, try a suet-seed mix like Nutberry Suet Blend, an energy-packed, powerhouse feed mix of premium fruits, preferred nuts, suet kibbles and whole kernel sunflower meats.
Best feeder location water and shelter
Birds need fresh water, especially in cold weather. Choose a heated birdbath and place it in a sheltered spot for safe access. And since birds may unwisely choose the coldest days to take a bath, consider placing a few rocks inside to discourage bathing, while still allowing birds room to drink.
Birds also appreciate warm, dry shelter from wet, snowy conditions. Offering well-insulated nest boxes will provide them with a cozy place to harbor.
Preparing for birds now will enable you to continue to enjoy them throughout the winter. Birds will benefit from your extra-special care! These tips should make feeding birds in winter easy and efficient.