2018-01-24 / Front Page

Feeding birds in the winter

Feeding wild birds in the winter can be enjoyable and entertaining. Knowing which birds are around in the winter, and what they need to eat is helpful.

The most common winter birds are finches, sparrows, titmice jays, woodpeckers, chickadees and cardinals. It helps to have a number of different bird feeders available.

Feeders are most useful if they have a wide cover over feeding ports, perches and dispensing trays so seed is not buried during snowfalls or storms. Fly-through platform feeders are a good design. The cover should extend several inches over the edge of the feeder to ensure protection from all but the most serious storms.

Winter bird feeders should be placed in sheltered locations out of the most severe winds. Placed closer to the house will be effective and help keep the birds visible for indoor birdwatching. Also feeders should be placed near protective cover such as hedges or brush piles to offer birds safety from predators.

Covered feeders with large capacities are good, but open platform feeders should be emptied and refilled daily to prevent mildew and spoilage. Proper cleaning will cut down on mold and mildew. All feeders need to be cleaned and sterilized regularly.

The best foods to offer birds in cold weather have high fat or oil content to provide energy for winter survival. These are black oil sunflower seeds, thistle seed, suet mixed with seeds, peanut butter, white millet seeds.

To properly store seed, it should be kept in a cool, dry place that is protected from bugs and rodents. Choose a storage bin that will be easy to get to in winter. Have a large scoop on hand to easily refill feeders.

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