Winter is here and has brought with it snow and freezing cold temperatures. While for us this means bundling up and dealing with that headache of shoveling, for our feathered friends, winter is a time where food and water are scarce, and survival is difficult. So, what can we do to help the wild birds survive the harshness of winter? We just need to provide them with things they may have trouble finding on their own with the limited natural resources available to them in the winter.
Birds typically rely on natural food sources to provide them with the nutrition they need to survive. In the winter, wild birds burn far more calories in order to stay warm, and when natural food sources are scarce it’s important that we provide them with the calories they need to survive. Place large feeders in your yard and fill them with black oil sunflower seeds or Feathered Friend High Energy Fruit & Nut mix, as they are both packed with calories. We also recommend putting out suet in the winter time. Suet is a major source of calories and is considered a high energy food for winter birds.
There is nothing more important to survival than water. In the winter, many of the natural sources of water become frozen, and when birds melt snow down to provide themselves with water, they burn the calories they could be using to keep warm. Provide a constant water source for the birds with a heated bird bath. You can do this by placing a bird bath heater into an existing bird bath, or by placing a heated bird bath in your yard or on your deck.
Warm, dry shelter is also scarce for wild birds in the winter. Put out roosting boxes, bird houses or roosting pockets to provide birds with a safe and dry place to keep them warm. Whatever you provide for shelter, we recommend positioning it so that it is facing south. This will enable the birds to get as much natural heat from the sun as possible, allowing them keep warm without burning too many calories. You can also provide natural forms of shelter by planting evergreens in the spring or fall. These plants serve a dual purpose; providing birds not only with a form a shelter, but also with natural food sources like berries, and seeds.
Providing wild birds with food, water and shelter is imperative to their survival during the harsh winter months. But, seeing the radiant red feathers of a cardinal, or hearing the beautiful song of a chickadee on a cold winter’s day is well worth the little effort it takes to help them out, don’t you think?