Keeping Birds Happy during the Winter

images3People would not think that Northwest Ohio is exactly a premier winter hangout, but some birds think so. Many of the birds which nest in the Arctic areas come down to Ohio during the winter. So to keep your birds happy when feeding during the winter time, make sure seed is dry and the birds can get to the feeder.

Offer a variety of feeders positioned at different heights and locations around your yard. Also provide a variety of feed. Black oil sunflower is the hamburger of the bird world. Almost any bird that will visit a feeder will eat it. Suet is an excellent source of energy.  A good mixed seed and mealworms are good for winter also.

images7Keep an extra feeder or a larger capacity tube for use in bad weather. Put out high-energy foods, suet, meat scraps, and peanut butter. Fat gives the biggest energy boost to winter birds and without enough energy to keep them going strong, many songbirds would not survive a cold night. Some people save the seeds from squash and melons – this is a great way to put seeds from your pumpkins to good use. Spread them out on trays to air dry before placing them into your feeder.images1

Peanut butter is a great source of energy but some worry that the birds will choke on the sticky peanut butter; you can eliminate any risk by mixing it with cornmeal or oatmeal . Using a birdbath for water is a good thing but there is evidence that birds will bathe in open water in very cold weather. This can be bad or even fatal for birds in very cold weather because the water may freeze on their feathers before it dries up so place large rocks in the bath but make enough room for the birds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If If you decide to provide a birdhouse, a roost box is better for the winter as it will provide secure, comfortable shelter.  If you don’t have a roost box, backyard birders can live in birdhouses.  Just remember it would be nice to snuggle down into some dried grass or dry wood shavings to keep warm!

Planting trees and bushes that keep their cover throughout the year is an easy and natural way to provide birds with winter shelter. Landscaping that includes evergreen trees like cedars and pines provide cover in every season. A fast way to provide shelter is to build a pile. Add pruning clippings to the pile to enlarge it and keep it sturdy.

Wintering birds have done quite well in order to survive the coldest months. They’ve also learned to rely heavily upon humans for food, water, and roosting spots. The more we chip in and help, the better. And once you start helping the birds in the winter, don’t stop until winter is over.

-Provided by Oakland Columbus

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