Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Bird Feeding

Feeding the birds is a rewarding hobby that many people started as children.Such was not the case in my own life, but, being a gardener, providing a habitat for birds and other wildlife soon became one of the goals set in my own gardening world.
Nuthatches enjoy suet cakes

Fruit bearing plants like holly, winter berry, and beauty berry, have been added to the landscape to provide late summer and fall food for the birds. Evergreen trees and shrubs have offered shelter. The yard is kept a little bit wild to leave sheltered areas for the birds and other animals. Perennials like black-eyed Susans, daisies, and ornamental grasses are not cut back until early March to allow birds to enjoy the seed heads from the plants.
Cardinals perch around the feeder during a winter snowstorm

 But, come winter as the plants are covered in snow, and the berries already foraged by the birds, supplemental feeding becomes a necessity.
Birds have a fast metabolism and look for high calorie and high fat seed and suet to help keep them fed and warm. Black oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, safflower, and thistle are wonderful seeds often incorporated into mixes for cardinals, finches, juncos, nuthatches, tufted titmice, woodpeckers, and many other winter backyard birds. For people who have a squirrel problem, baffles, Squirrel Busters feeders and possibly the addition of  liquid hot pepper to the seed will thwart the little guys.
Squirrels can be as captivating as winter birds to watch as they eat food provided for them

Keep feeders clean to avoid spreading disease to the birds. Feeder Fresh is an additive that prevents mold and caking, keeping the food and the feeder clean, dry and fresh. Other house, feeder and birdbath cleaners are also available in our Wild Bird House at Valley View.

Enjoy the backyard feeders. And, take some fun photos, as Marian has done, in your own backyard.