Bird feeding in the winter
Winter represents a difficult time for birds in many parts of North America. Cold days with long and even colder nights, barely any vegetation, no insects to eat… What can you do to make their lives easier?
One thing you could do is set up a backyard feeder and enjoy bird watching from home. If you live in an apartment, try to place a hanging birdfeeder from a window or balcony, if possible.
What do birds eat in the winter months? Non-migratory birds shift their diets to seeds and fruits to survive. So this is your opportunity to set the table and invite your feathered friends! The question is: what to feed them?
The commercial mixtures that you can find in most supermarkets may have a high percentage of “filler seeds,” but you can create a low-cost mixture yourself. Black-oil sunflower seeds are a favorite of most species. They are nutritious, high in fat, and easy for small birds to crack.
Dried corn and white proso millet are favored, also. Some birds, like cardinals, appreciate safflower, while other birds enjoy peanuts.
Other high-energy foods birds appreciate are peanut butter or suet (beef fat). Beef suet is available in most supermarkets.
Other birds such as robins, bluebirds and waxwings, prefer fruits. Offer them sliced apples, oranges, and other fresh fruit or frozen berries. You can place fruit on a plate or shallow bowl on a platform feeder or on the ground. If you feed the birds dried raisins and currants, make sure you soften them by soaking the dried fruit in water first.
For more information about bird feeding this winter, visit Feederwatch.