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Friday, December 12, 2014

Winter Bird Feeding Tips



American Goldfinches and Pine Siskin on lower right 

Dark-eyed Junco in snow

To help your birds get through winter in areas of the country where there is severe winter weather, start with an excellent bird feeder set up. Make sure you include multiple Stokes Select®  tubular, hopper, screen, and suet feeders filled with a variety of quality bird seeds and suet. Focus on providing black oil sunflower (which has a high oil, thus calorie count), seed mixes that contain a good amount of black oil sunflower and, for finches, Nyjer (thistle) seed. Also include suet which is a calorie-rich food that provides much needed energy for birds in cold weather.

Place feeders near cover so the birds can escape wind and cold. Near pines or other evergreens is ideal, especially if they face south. Place feeders on poles with squirrel baffles and locate them 12 or more feet from any place from which a squirrel can jump.

Clean off snow from feeders whenever it accumulates from a storm. This includes shoveling snow from under the feeders so ground feeding species like Mourning Doves, White-throated Sparrows and juncos can access seeds that birds drop from the above feeders. Consider using the snow blower to clear under the feeders if it is feasible. Some people make a big brush pile with a hollow middle inside and sprinkle seed on the ground in the middle of it so ground feeding species can get the seed. The more feeders you have, the more kinds of birds you will attract. 

Winter target birds. In addition to regular winter birds like chickadees, titmice, goldfinches, nuthatches, cardinals, jays, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, juncos, and White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, you may attract rarer species like Common Redpolls, Pine Siskins, and Evening Grosbeaks.

Once you finish shoveling the snow go inside, pour a cup of hot chocolate, get out your binoculars and, though the window, watch a lot of happy birds flock to your feeders.

And if you're looking for Chirstmas gifts for the bird lover, get our just published new Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America. With 250 species and over 580 stunning photos,  it contains all the birds you will see at your feeders and the essential ones beyond.

Buy Now! The Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to birds of North America



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