By Vicki Larsen
Winter and cold weather has come to much of the country. You may not think of winter as a good time to watch birds, but I find it excellent bird watching weather. There things you can do to make their lives easier and your watching more enjoyable. It consists of three simple things: provide food, water and shelter.
With very cold temperatures and snow covering the ground the food supply is the most essential for our feathered friends’ ability to survive the winter. Bird feeders bring large numbers and varieties of birds right to your yard and into your viewing area. Many flocks of birds move through the area including, woodpeckers, chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, doves, cardinals and others. There are different types of feeders to suit the needs and species of different birds. One of the bird feeders I like to use has a roof to protect the seed and the birds from the snow and ice. I also like the use of a ground feeder in the winter as the pole type feeders get to busy to accommodate the crowds and many birds are actual ground feeders. Suet feeders are also important in the winter especially for attracting woodpeckers. Suet feeders provide the fat for the birds so they can generate energy and heat. There was a shortage of berries in nature this year due to an ice storm early in the spring so be sure to get a good quality suet that contains real berries.
At the end of this article I have included my own homemade recipe for suet.
Another great bird feeder especially for winter use is the window feeder. It attaches right to your window and brings the birds up close. Some models can even be filled from inside your home.
Shelter for the birds can be in many forms. Natural thickets, evergreens, or shelters you can provide. After the Christmas tree has given us great joy we then place it outside near our bird feeders for shelter. Clean out your roosting and nesting boxes and winterize them by adding wood shavings and plugging vent and drain holes. Create a brush pile- use logs, branches, limbs, corn stalks and others yard cuttings to make a tepee. Attach extensions to the roofs of your feeders.
Water is an important element in the bird habitat that many of us do not think about. Many birds can use a natural source-rivers, ponds, lakes etc. However these sources can freeze over. Cardinals especially use water on a daily basis for not only drinking but also bathing. You may want to invest in a heater for your birdbath for winter.
If you implement these three things-food, shelter and water to your yard, you and your birds will not only survive the long cold winter, but will get some enjoyment out of it too!
Berry-Raisin Suet Recipe
1 Cup Grease from bacon, sausage, other fatty meat or Lard
½ Jar of Peanut Butter (chunky)
1 ½ Cup Oatmeal (not instant)
1 ½ Cup Cracked Corn
1 Cup Raisins
1 ½ Cup Cranberries (any colorful berry)
Melt peanut butter with the grease. Add other ingredients. Cool slightly and pack into plastic containers or milk or orange juice cartons. Refrigerate or freeze. Cut into shapes for suet feeders.
We at http://birdhousesofbeauty.com/ can help you take care of your feathered friends this winter as we offer a large selection of quality bird houses and bird feeders, both functional and decorative for all varieties of birds. Our website has products for Blue birds, Purple Martins, Hummingbirds, Wren, Chickadees, Orioles, Cardinals and Woodpeckers. We also have a good selection of squirrel proof feeders. We use only top quality name brand suppliers including: Audubon, Droll Yankees, Duncraft, Home Bazaar and more. Please check out our website http://birdhousesofbeauty.com/ for your next bird feeder or birdhouse- we also welcome any comments or inquiries.
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