From bright red cardinals to chatty nuthatches, birds that stay in cold climates through winter greatly appreciate extra food.
Though they often stay snug through storms, nestled in evergreen boughs and snow-covered thickets, finding available food is always a struggle. Hungry birds will become daily visitors to a backyard feeding station, making winter more enjoyable for all.
Set Up a Feeding Station for Birds This Winter:
- Choose a spot sheltered from harsh winds and easily viewed from inside your house. A feeding station situated near the vegetable garden invites activity from little birds willing to scratch for seeds – including seeds shed by crabgrass and other weeds. Choose a hanging or pole-type bird feeder. You will be refilling the feeder often, so you may want to lay stepping stones to avoid walking in mud after a snow thaw or rainy day.
- Set unused tomato cages and tall garden stakes 12 feet from your feeding station if it is in an open space. Before birds visit a feeder, they like to perch nearby to make sure the area is safe.
- Fill the feeder with seed. Black oil sunflower seeds make the best all-around food for winter birds because they are high in nutrition and well-liked by many different species. Many ground-feeding species are happy with less-costly millet-based seed mixtures.
- Hang refillable suet baskets on fences or sturdy tree limbs, and expect a flurry of interest from birds such as woodpeckers and titmice.
Tip: Get to know your birds and fine-tune the foods you offer to their preferences. For example, pine siskins and small finches are attracted to thistle while blue jays love peanuts.