Tips on Winter Bird Feeding

To attract a great number of species to your feeders in winter have a number of different kinds of feeders available. The feeders you should use in the winter have three characteristics in common.

Placement – Feeders should be placed in sheltered locations, out of severe winds. Placing them close to hedges or bush piles to protect them from predators. They will be most effective by placing them close to house because they will be visible for indoor birdwatching. To avoid window collisions place feeders at least five feet from house or window.

Cover – To prevent dispensing trays from being buried during a snowfall or storm, a wide cover should be placed over feeding ports and perches. Fly – through platform feeders are a good design for winter feeding.

Capacity – Large capacity feeders are good for winter feeding because they do not need refilled as often, but be sure the seed is protected from moisture so it does not grow mold before it is consumed. Platform feeders should be emptied and refilled daily to prevent mildew and spoilage.

Foods For Winter Feeding

Most birds thrive on seeds in the winter months being that insects and fruits are harder to find naturally. Foods that are good for winter feeding have a high fat or oil content, which will provide abundant energy for winter survival. Some winter foods include:

  • -Black-oil sunflower seed
  • -Hulled peanuts
  • -Suet mixes with seed or fruit
  • -Peanut Butter
  • – White millet seed

Consider which bird species will visit your backyard and know what food they prefer when choosing seed for winter feeding to avoid excess wasted seed.

Some Common Winter Birds

  • House Finch
  • – House Sparrow
  • – Tufted Titmice
  • – American Goldfinch
  • – Downy Woodpecker
  • – Black-capped Chickadees
  • – Northern Cardinals
  • – Juncos
  • – American Robins

More Tips For Winter Birdwatching

  1. Leave bird houses up all year, they provide winter roosting sites.
  2. Keep feeders free of snow around ground to provide easier access to spilled seed.
  3. Add a heated bird bath to your garden to provide liquid water in winter.
  4. Leave berries and fruit on trees and bushes to provide a natural source of food throughout the winter.
  5. Clean off feeders,platforms and perches after a storm to make seed easily accessible.

Safeguards For Feeding Stations

Just as food is scarce for birds in winter it is also scarce for squirrels,raccoons,stray cats and other predators. Take these few steps to safeguard your feeding station for winter.

  1. Choose feeders with caged perches or squirrel baffles.
  2. Position feeders several feet from natural cover so birds can hide if necessary.
  3. Consider placing a fencing around feeding station to keep predators away.
  4. Offer other food for pest animals and in different location, so they will not be tempted to raid feeders.