Winter Backyard Bird Feeding Tips
Do you realize that many birds do not migrate south for the winter? Some people put away birdbaths and feeders until spring; however, there are many beautiful winter birds that can use your help in providing necessary food and water when natural resources are at their scarcest.
According to Melissa Mayntz, a 30-year birding enthusiast who has been published in Bird Watcher’s Digest, WildBird Magazine and National Wildlife Magazine, your help can really make a difference to these birds.
Why Backyards Matter to Winter Birds
In winter, deep snow and ice can bury foods just when birds need more calories to keep warm through the bitter cold. At the same time, water is locked into frozen ice so birds cannot easily drink. Dropping temperatures can make birds slower and more vulnerable to illness or predators, and fallen leaves offer less protection to keep winter birds safe. Fortunately, a bird-friendly yard can provide for all of a bird’s needs even during the coldest months.
- Food: When insects are dead or inaccessible to feeding birds, nectar-producing flowers are long gone and seed supplies are exhausted, winter backyards can be a vital food source. Higher calorie foods such as suet, peanut butter, and nuts are ideal for feeding winter birds and will attract more species to the backyard.
- Water: While snow and ice are both water, frozen water is less helpful to birds because they must expend energy to melt it to drink. Even if birds eat snow directly, their bodies must generate more heat to metabolize that snow and overcome the chill. A heated birdbath can be critical, and birds will quickly find and flock to such an easy, convenient, liquid water source in winter
- Shelter: Evergreen trees provide great shelter for winter birds, but in areas where deciduous trees have lost their leaves, not as much shelter may be available. Birds can take refuge in hollow trees, but those hideaways may be few and far between. Backyards that offer winter bird shelters such as dense brush piles, roost boxes or year-round birdhouses will attract more visitors.
- Nesting Sites: Birds do not breed in winter, but year-round residents remain in the same territories and will quickly revisit their favorite nesting sites when spring arrives. Ensuring that those sites, including birdhouses or bird nesting shelves, remain safe and suitable can help keep even more backyard birds around all winter.
Braxton’s offers a large variety of wild bird seed as well as bird feeders. Since the closing of Wild Bird Market in Gateway Shopping Center, we have added to our inventory. Stop in and visit our wild bird aisle.