Winter Bird Feeding Tips
If you’re in New England like we are (or anywhere that gets cold in the winter) you may consider feeding the wild birds if you aren’t already. Ice and layers of snow over the course of one large (or many small) storm has the potential to cut off many of the natural resources birds rely on for survival. The last thing we want is to see hundreds or even thousands of birds starve to death, right?
To ensure a healthy, successful winter bird feeding season check out our tips below.
Use big capacity feeders
If you don’t have any large bird feeders consider putting out multiple medium sized ones. This is important during major storms so there is plenty of food to go around to all the birds in your immediate surroundings. Visit your local hardware stores or wild bird stores- they are bound to have excellent options for feeders.
Offer nutritious seed & plenty of fat
This is a very important winter bird feeding tip! Ideal seed mixes consist of black oil sunflower seed, hulled peanuts, white millet seed and niger seed. Be careful of “filler” seed mixes, where there is more mixed grains with little nutrition than anything else. It pays to read the bags before you buy them.
Also keep in mind that birds burn more calories in the winter as to stay warm. Providing suet is a good way to ensure you’re providing them access to quick energy. Woodpeckers and insect-eating birds will give you special thanks for thinking of them!
Be consistent & feed all Winter
Believe it or not, the birds who find your feeders will likely stick around. Don’t let them down! If you begin feeding on November 1st, keep your feeders full until mid-March or early April. As long as there’s snow and ice, there will be birds relying on your kindness & feeders. Try to pay attention to the food supply and aim to avoid any length of time where they are empty. It only takes one huge storm to negatively affect the bird population if they can’t find enough food to survive.
Don’t forget water
It may seem counterintuitive, but birds can still become dehydrated in the winter even when surrounded by ice/snow. Filling your bird bath or simply leaving a pan of water on the warmer winter days could make all the difference!
Remember the ground feeders!
Do your ground-feeding birds a favor by stamping down the snow underneath your feeders so they can have easy access to the seed that falls. Too much snow will deter the doves, and other birds from hanging around trying to eat the droppings.
Keep your feeders clean
Every so often head on out with some warm water and clean the feeders. Chances are they’ll get a little grimy as the season goes on. Give them a good clean, let them dry- and fill ’em right back up again.
Stock up on seed
I didn’t know this until recently- but go seed shopping over the Fall this year. Places will often discount the bigger bags because they’re making room for their winter merchandise. Buy several bags and never run out, especially in the dead of winter!