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Make Winter Fly By with Birding

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Make Winter Fly By With Birding

 Did you know that small birds can lose up to 10 percent of their body weight in a single frigid night? Even worse, food and water are hard to come by. If you decide to start a little songbird love, commit to stick with it. As your little friends discover your hospitality, they will come to count on it. Sudden stops of support can be deadly – if you will be gone for several days, load up the resources or have someone stop by for a refill.

A Winter Buffet

Replenish your buffet in the morning and late afternoon, when birds need to restore their energy. If you have a spot out of the wind, all the better. A simple board placed over a window box can serve as a “charcuterie” tray. Consider a ground tray and a hanging feeder – some little birds eat off the ground. The more variety you include, the more species you will see!

  • A bag of wild bird seed is always welcome
  • Add high calorie foods, even though they aren’t straight from Mom Nature, like bread or even pastry.
  • Suet chunks (of course). Look for the hanging kind to keep rodents from stealing.
  • Cooked potatoes
  • Soft, mild cheeses
  • Cracked corn
  • Chopped apple, orange, pear
  • Chopped unsalted peanuts

A Winter Home

Most stores have simple, inexpensive nest boxes. Secure them to a rail or buy a shepherd’s hook. You can even gather a group of friends for a fun afternoon of painting your nest boxes before putting them out. A coat of protective shellac or varnish can help your art last in the elements. Add hay, yarn or pet nesting material inside the box for extra warmth.

A Winter Sip

Access to drinking water presents an obvious challenge in sub-freezing temperatures. A heated bird bath is great, if you are able to put the effort into getting it and have a spot in your outdoor area near your feeding and shelter area. If you use a heated bath, fill it with rocks so that they don’t get soaked. The winter goal is to keep them drinking, not bathing.

If you are relying on a non-heated source, simply commit to placing hot water out and checking it during the day and evening based on the temperature.

More Cool Winter Birding Stuff

North American Project Feederwatch

Michigan Audubon

Winter. At times breathtaking, but more often, uncomfortable, lifeless and downright boring. Here’s a project that just might make you wish it would last longer: start a winter bird support group. It’s fun for you, and these little creatures truly benefit from your help. Whether you take it on as an individual or community-group project, this rewarding idea brings some wonder back to winter.
Vista Springs

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