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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Feeding

Cardinal and Blue Jays at hopper feeder filled with a sunflower mix and suet cakes.

Brrr, there are subzero temps out there. We make sure the feeders are filled. Access to feeders can sometimes mean the difference between life and death to birds, if the weather is very severe. Birds do not store lots of fat on their bodies (unlike humans!), so they need to restock their fuel supplies every day. They often cannot go more than 24 hours without eating in severe weather.

Here are a few tips and things we do to help the birds in winter:

- Keep feeders filled especially in the early morning and mid-afternoon when birds may feed most heavily. When we say filled, I mean filled to the top, so that all the portals at a tube feeder are available with seed to the bird customers.

- Feed lots of sunflower seed, and/or a good mix that contains a high percentage of sunflower, since sunflower is a calorie-rich food with a high protein and fat content.

- Feed suet cakes, they contain mostly fat, a very high calorie food. Birds need to consume more calories in severe weather in order to keep warm.

- Put feeders in a sheltered, sunny spot out of the wind.

- Sprinkle some mixed seed on the ground, if none is there, to provide for species who like to feed on the ground, such as juncos, White-throated Sparrows, etc.

- Keep snow off feeders after a storm.

- Put out litte down sleeping bags to keep them cozy at night (just kidding!)


NW Nature Nut said...

Very cute. The last conjurred a cute image!

mckay olson said...

thanks for the tips! it has been hard for me to keep up ith the snow storms, I have not been puting seed in my feeders this winter.

Vickie said...

I like the sleeping bag suggestions. Thanks for the tips.

ehunter said...

Actually, the other day as we had 15 degree weather I was wondering if there was something I could put out to provide warm shelter for birds. I guess a birdbox is one thing but maybe there is something I haven't yet heard of.

I love the feeder shot with the bluejays and cardinal.

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

YOu can put up a bird roosting box, or just regular bird houses, which many birds use to sleep in to keep warm in winter.
Dense evergreens are also excellent, warm, roosting spots.