When the landscape is white and the sky gray and dreary we long for color as we glance out the window. Time for a little “fowl play”. Just the “tweetment” for the winter blues, backyard birding is among the most active hobbies in the United States and Canada. Backyard birds provide color and movement in our otherwise dreary landscapes in January.
Our feathered backyard friends have ways of staying warm on cold days. They shiver to increase their metabolic rate, fluff their feathers to provide some insulation and look for cover both from the cold wind and predators. Small birds have the toughest time in winter. For the entertainment they provide we in return should consider providing some food for energy and warmth. It’s the least we can do while they’re out there “winging” it.
The best of the best bird feed to use is black oil sunflower seed. A high energy food, black oil sunflower seed “fills the bill” for both large and small birds. Another great high energy and versatile feed along with being economical is suet.
There are many great flavors of suet cakes available today and they’re easy to use. Suet is consumed by a large variety of birds and is a great supplement when insects are hard to find for a snack. Don’t forget some peanuts, safflower, thistle seed and shelled corn as well as millet. These feeds will provide the supplemental nutrition the birds need when their natural food sources are more difficult to find in the dead of winter. When food is scarce and the air is cold you don’t want the birds to become birds of “pray” just to get by.
Make sure feeders are kept clean and sanitary. This goes for the ground around the base of the feeding station also.
Position feeders a short flight away from natural cover in the landscape so they have some cover from predators (I hate it “wren” that happens). Also make sure feeders are at least 20 feet or more from windows. If the birds get spooked you don’t want them crashing into a window as they make their get away. If possible consider feeding birds during all 4 seasons. They can really use the help right now, but 4 season stations reward the property owner with a rainbow of fowl color all year. The birds will love it and you won’t “egret” it.