Nothing makes a chilly winter morning brighter than a yard full of colorful chirping birds. Those who don’t seem to get any wild visitors may wonder how to persuade our feathered friends to make an appearance. The truth is that they’ll come running (well, flying) once you set out the right incentives. Even those who live in the city don’t have to miss out on unexpected seasonal company. In fact, no matter where you live winter birds often have the hardest time finding quality food and water and will certainly appreciate your generous resources. Whether you are decorating a balcony window or a yard, it’s cheap and easy to attract a variety of cheerful species that will be your own personal choir for the holidays.
In much of North America the winter nights are long, days are short, and food is scarce for local wildlife. Insects are generally dead or dormant, inaccessible to birds that eat them at their number one fat and caloric intake. Hanging bites to eat from your native trees will encourage the spread of seeds and berries to the local ecosystem after the bird takes off, while providing safe windbreak in the mean time. Ensuring that winter bird needs are met will keep local populations well-fed and healthy, for your enjoyment on frosty winter days with the family or over a cup of coffee.
To attract a wide variety of bird, you’ll need an equally diverse availability of seed. Cheap mixes should be avoided, because the cost is still much too high for the low-quality content. Fillers are often used that the birds don’t eat, which becomes food for squirrels or just rots on the ground. Black sunflower seeds are great for attracting all kinds of birds, including blue jays, goldfinches, chickadees, and cardinals. Suet is a fatty byproduct of beef or venison, unfit for human consumption but perfect for wild birds. It must always be hung as not to attract other mammals. Bird feeders can be constructed out of household waste, like two-liter bottles or biodegradable cardboard tubes.
Winter birds often suffer more from lack of fresh, unfrozen water than they do from scarcity of food. A solar powered heater can be purchased for traditional birdbaths. Heat lamps are perfect for the occasional melt, if the birdbath is located under a closed roof. The hassle can be eliminated by simply pouring some warm water over the ice when the sun is the strongest and watch as the birds congregate for a nice drink and dip!
Attracting winter birds is made much easier by simply providing the all-around complete package. Planting hardy evergreen trees will ensure that birds thrive for your company and enjoyment all year long. Winter isn't the only time that our feathery friends can benefit from a little helping hand, but it certainly isn't a bad time to start.